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GEO.    P.    PUTNAM,    155    BROADWAY, 


Entered,  according  to  Act  of  Congress,  in  the  year  18-19,  by 


In  the  Clerk's  Office  of  the  District  Court  of  the  United  States  for  the  Southern  District 
of  New-Yorit. 



My  Dear  Sir, — 

I  have  two  reasons  for  embellishing  this  little  volume 
with  your  distinguished  and  honored  name.  In  the  first  place,  the 
material  of  which  it  is  composed,  was  originally  published  in  the  National 
Intelligencer ;  and  in  the  second  place,  I  desire  to  record  the  fact,  that 
for  many  years  past,  in  all  matters  appertaining  to  my  pen  you  have  been 
to  me  an  invaluable  counsellor  and  friend. 

In  love  and  gratitude. 

Very  sincerely  yours, 

Charles  Lanman. 

Washington,  D.  C,  August,  1849. 



Trip  to  Track  Rock,    . 
Valley  of  the  Nacoochee, 
Cascade  of  Tuccoah,    . 
The  Falls  of  Tallulah, 
The  Hunter  of  Tallulah, 
Trail  Mountain, 
Down  the  Owassa, 









Across  the  Mountains, 

Notes  on  the  Little  Tennesseej 

The  Smoky  Mountain, 








The  Cherokees  of  Carolina, 

Cherokee  Customs, 

Cherokee  Characters, 

Hickory  Nut  Gap, 

Down  the  French  Broad, 

Trip  to  Black  Mountain,      , 








The  Catawba  Country, 

The  Mountains  and  their  People, 

The  Nameless  Valley, 

The  Valley  of  Virginia, 







Geology  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains, 
Soil  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains, 
Minerals  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains, 
Miscellaneous  Remarks  on  the  Alleghany  Mountains, 






Dahlonega,  Georgia,  April,  1848. 
The  Cherokee  word  Dah-lon-e-ga  signifies  the  place  of 
yellow  metal ;  and  is  now  applied  to  a  small  hamlet  at  the 
foot  of  the  Alleghany  Mountains,  in  Lumpkin  county, 
Georgia,  which  is  reputed  to  be  the  wealthiest  gold  region 
in  the  United  States.  It  is  recorded  of  De  Soto  and  his 
followers  that,  in  the  sixteenth  century,  they  explored  this 
entire  Southern  country  in  search  of  gold,  and  unquestion- 
able evidences  of  their  work  have  been  discovered  in  va- 
rious sections  of  the  State.  Among  these  testimonials  may 
be  mentioned  the  remains  of  an  old  furnace,  and  other 
works  for  mining,  which  have  been  brought  to  light  by 
recent  explorations.  But  the  attention  of  our  own  people 
was  first  directed  to  this  region  while  yet  the  Cherokees 
were  in  possession  of  the  land,  though  the  digging  of  gold 
was  not  made  a  regular  business  until  after  they  had  been 


politely  banished  by  the  General  Government.  As  soon  as 
the  State  of  Georgia  had  become  the  rightfulposs  essor  of 
the  soil  (according  to  law),  much  contention  and  excite- 
ment arose  among  the  people  as  to  who  should  have  the 
best  opportunities  for  making  fortunes ;  and,  to  settle  all 
difficulties,  it  was  decided  by  the  State  Legislature  that  the 
country  should  be  surveyed  and  divided  into  lots  of  forty 
and  one  hundred  and  sixty  acres,  and  distributed  to  the 
people  by  lottery.  For  several  years  subsequent  to  that 
period,  deeds  of  wrong  and  outrage  were  practised  to  a  very 
great  extent  by  profligate  adventurers  who  flocked  to  this 
El  Dorado.  In  the  year  1838,  however,  the  Government 
established  a  branch  Mint  at  this  place,  since  which  time  a 
much  better  state  of  things  has  existed  in  Dahlonega. 

The  appearance  of  this  village,  though  not  more  than  a 
dozen  years  old,  is  somewhat  antiquated,  owing  to  the  fact 
that  the  houses  are  chiefly  built  of  logs,  and,  having  never 
been  painted,  are  particularly  dark  and  dingy,  but  uncom- 
monly picturesque  in  form  and  location.  The  population 
of  the  place  is  about  five  hundred.  It  is  located  upon  a 
hill,  and  though  the  country  around  is  quite  uneven,  having 
been  deeply  ravined  by  atmospheric  agents,  when  viewed 
in  connection  with  the  mountains,  (some  ten  or  fifteen 
miles  oflT,)  which  seem  to  hem  it  on  three  sides,  presents 
the  appearance  of  a  pit  to  a  magnificent  amphitheatre.  On 
approaching  Dahlonega  I  noticed  that  the  water-courses 
had  all  been  mutilated  with  the  spade  and  pickaxe,  and  that 
their  waters  were  of  a  deep  yellow  ;  and  having  explored 
the  country  since  then,  I  find  that  such  is  the  condition  of 
all  the  streams  within  a  circuit  of  many  miles.  Large 
brooks  (and  even  an  occasional  river)  have  been  turned 
into  a  new  channel,  and  thereby  deprived  of  their  original 


beauty.  And  of  all  the  hills  in  the  vicinity  of  Dahlonega 
which  I  have  visited,  I  have  not  yet  seen  one  which  is  not 
actually  riddled  with  shafts  and  tunnels.  The  soil  is  of  a 
primitive  character,  quite  yellowish  in  color,  composed  of 
sand  and  clay,  and  uncommonly  easy  to  excavate  with  the 
spade.  Heretofore  the  gold  ore  of  Lumpkin  county  has 
been  obtained  from  what  is  called  the  deposit  beds,  but  the 
miners  are  now  beginning  to  direct  their  attention  to  the 
veined  ore,  which  is  supposed  to  be  very  abundant  in  all 
directions.  It  is  generally  found  in  quartz  and  a  species  of 
slate  stone.  The  gold  region  of  Georgia,  strictly  speaking, 
is  confined  to  a  broad  belt,  which  runs  in  a  northeastern 
and  southwestern  direction  from  Dahlonega,  which  may  be 
considered  its  centre.  Several  auriferous  veins  traverse  the 
town,  and  it  is  common  after  a  rain  to  see  the  inhabitants 
busily  engaged  in  hunting  for  gold  in  the  streets.  That 
huge  quantities  are  thus  accumulated  in  these  days  I  am 
not  ready  to  believe,  whatever  may  have  been  done  in 
former  years.  I  know  not  that  any  very  remarkable  spe- 
cimens of  gold  ore  have  been  found  in  the  immediate  vicinity 
of  Dahlonega,  but  an  idea  of  the  wealth  of  the  State  in 
this  particular  may  be  gathered  from  the  fact,  that  several 
lumps  have  heretofore  been  found  in  different  sections, 
which  were  worth  from  five  hundred  to  one  thousand 
dollars.  More  valuable  specimens  have  been  found  in 
North  Carolina;  but  while  Virginia,  the  Carolinas,  and 
Alabama  have  all  produced  a  goodly  amount  of  gold,  I  have 
heard  it  conceded  that  Georgia  has  produced  the  largest 
quantity  and  decidedly  the  best  quality. 

And  now  with  regard  to  the  fortunes  that  have  been 
made  in  this  region.  They  are  very  few  and  far  between. 
But,  by  way  of  illustration,  I  will  give  two  or  three  incidents 


which  have  come  to  my  knowledge.  In  passing,  however, 
I  may  repeat  the  remark  made  to  me  by  an  intelHgent  gen- 
tleman, that  the  expenses  of  digging  out  the  gold  in  this 
section  of  country  have  ever  exceeded  the  gain  by  about 
one  hundred  per  cent.  Immense  amounts  of  labor  as  well 
as  money  have  been  expended,  and,  generally  speaking,  the 
condition  of  the  people  has  not  been  improved ;  the  very 
wealth  of  the  country  has  caused  the  ruin  of  many  indi- 
viduals. The  following  story  is  a  matter  of  popular  history. 
After  the  State  Legislature  had  divided  the  Cherokee 
Purchase  into  lots  and  regularly  numbered  them,  it  was 
rumored  about  the  country  that  lot  No.  1052  was  a  great 
prize,  and  every  body  w^as  on  tiptoe  with  regard  to  its  dis- 
tribution by  the  proposed  lottery.  At  that  time  1052  figured 
in  the  dreams  of  every  Georgian,  and  those  figures  were 
then  far  more  popular  than  the  figures  54  40  have  been  in 
these  latter  days.  Among  the  more  crazy  individuals  who 
attended  the  lottery  was  one  Mosely,  who  had  determined 
either  to  draw  the  much  talked  of  prize  or  purchase  it  of 
the  winner,  even  though  it  should  be  at  the  cost  of  his 
entire  property,  which  was  quite  large.  The  drawing  took 
place,  and  1052  came  into  the  possession  of  a  poor  farmer 
named  Ellison.  Mosely  immediately  mounted  his  horse 
and  hastened  to  Ellison's  farm,  where  he  found  the  child  of 
fortune  following  his  plough.  The  would-be  purchaser 
made  known  the  object  of  his  visit,  and  Ellison  only 
laughed  at  the  impetuosity  of  his  impatient  friend.  Ellison 
said  he  was  not  anxious  to  sell  the  lot,  but  if  Mosely  must 
have  it,  he  might  have  it  for  .^30,000.  Mosely  acceded  to 
the  terms,  and  in  paying  for  the  lot  sacrificed  most  of  his 
landed  and  personal  property.  The  little  property  which 
was  left  him  he  was  compelled  to  employ  in  working  his 


mines ;  he  labored  with  great  diligence  for  several  years, 
but  he  could  never  make  both  ends  meet,  for  his  mines 
vi^ere  not  at  all  distinguished  for  their  richness.  In  process 
of  time  he  was  compelled  to  sell  1052  for  what  it  would 
bring,  and  haying  squandered  that  remnant  of  his  former 
wealth,  he  left  the  country  for  parts  unknown,  a  veritable 
beggar.  But,  what  is  more  singular  than  all,  the  present 
proprietor  of  1052  is  that  identical  man  Ellison,  who  is 
annually  realizing  a  handsome  sum  of  money  from  the 
newly-discovered  gold  ore  found  in  the  bowels  of  his  lottery 

Another  instance  of  good  fortune,  unattended  with  any 
alloy,  is  as  follows  :  Five  years  ago  a  couple  of  brothers, 
who  were  at  work  upon  the  Georgia  railroad,  took  it  into 
their  heads  to  visit  Dahlonega  and  try  their  luck  in  the 
mining  business.  They  were  hardworking  Irishmen,  and 
understood  the  science  of  digging  to  perfection.  They 
leased  one  or  two  lots  in  this  vicinity,  and  are  now  reputed 
to  be  worth  ^15,000. 

And  now  that  it  has  come  into  my  mind,  I  will  mention 
another  lottery  anecdote,  which  was  related  to  me  by  an 
old  resident.  By  way  of  introduction,  however,  1  ought 
here  to  mention  that  this  region  is  famous  for  the  number 
and  size  of  its  rattlesnakes,  and  that  our  hero  had  an  utter 
abhorrence  of  the  reptile.  Among  those  who  obtained 
prizes  at  the  great  drawing,  before  alluded  to,  was  an  indi- 
vidual from  the  southern  part  of  the  State,  who  drew  a  lot 
in  this  vicinity.  In  process  of  time  he  came  to  the  north 
to  explore  his  property,  and  had  called  at  the  house  of  a 
farmer  near  his  land,  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  a  guide. 
In  conversing  with  the  farmer,  he  took  occasion  to  express 
his  dislike  to  the  rattlesnake  ;  whereupon   the  farmer  con- 


eluded  that  he  would  attempt  a  speculation.  Remembering 
that  in  going  to  the  stranger's  land  he  might  (if  he  chose 
to  do  so)  pass  through  an  out-of-the-way  ravine  which 
abounded  in  the  dreaded  snake,  the  farmer  beckoned  to  the 
stranger,  and  they  took  their  way  towards  the  ravine. 
After  they  had  arrived  at  the  spot,  hardly  a  rod  did  the 
pedestrians  pass  without  hearing  the  hiss  of  a  snake  or 
seeing  its  fiery  tongue,  and  the  stranger  was  as  completely 
frightened  as  any  one  could  possibly  be  by  a  similar  cause. 
In  his  despair  he  turned  to  his  companion  and  said  : 

"  Are  snakes  as  plenty  as  this  all  over  the  country  ?" 

"  I  can't  say  about  that,  stranger,  but  one  of  my  neigh- 
bors killed  about  a  hundred  last  year,  and  I've  hearn  tell 
that  your  land  is  very  rich  in  snakes." 

"  Now  I  ain't  a  going  any  further  in  this  infernal  region, 
and  I  want  to  know  if  you  have  a  horse  that  you'll  give 
me  for  my  land — gold  ore,  snakes,  and  all." 

"  I  have,  and  a  first-rate  horse  too." 

"  It's  a  bargain." 

On  the  following  morning,  the  stranger,  like  the  hero  of 
a  novel,  might  be  seen  mounted  on  a  Dahlonega  steed, 
pursuing  his  devious  pathway  along  a  lonely  road  towards 
the  south  pole. 

Of  the  uncounted  gold  mines  which  are  found  in  this 
region,  the  most  fruitful  at  the  present  times  lies  about 
twenty-five  miles  from  here,  in  a  northerly  direction,  and  is 
the  property  of  Mr.  Lorenzo  Dow  Smith.  And  the  success 
■which  has  ever  attended  Lorenzo  is  worth  recording.  In 
a  conversation  that  I  had  with  him  in  this  place,  where  he 
is  now  staying,  1  remarked  that  I  should  like  to  embody  his 
history  in  a  paragraph  of  my  note-book,  and  he  replied  to 
me  as  follows : 


"  1  was  born  in  Vermont ;  I  came  into  this  Southern 
country  twenty-four  years  ago  as  a  clock-pedler,  where  I 
drove  a  good  business.  I  used  to  spend  my  summers  among 
the  mountains  of  the  Cherokee  country,  partly  for  the  pur- 
pose of  keeping  away  from  the  fever,  and  partly  with  a  view 
of  living  over  again  the  days  of  my  boyhood,  which  were 
spent  among  the  Green  Mountains.  I  made  some  money, 
and  when  the  gold  fever  commenced  I  took  it  and  went  to 
speculating  in  gold  lots,  though  I  spent  many  years  without 
finding  lots  of  gold'!  I  associated  with  bear  hunters,  and 
explored  every  corner  and  stream  of  this  great  mountain 
land,  away  to  the  north,  and  have  seen  more  glorious 
scenery  than  any  other  live  man.  I'm  forty  years  old, 
unmarried,  love  good  liquor,  and  go  in  for  having  fun. 
'Bout  four  years  ago,  it  came  into  my  thinking  mug  that 
there  must  be  plenty  of  gold  in  the  bed  of  Coosa  creek, 
which  runs  into  Coosa  river.  I  traded  for  a  lot  there,  and 
went  to  work.  I  found  a  deposit,  gave  up  work,  and  went 
to  leasing  small  sections,  which  are  now  worked  by  a  good 
many  men,  and  give  me  a  decent  living.  I  have  had  all 
sorts  of  luck  in  my  day — good  luck  and  bad  luck.  When 
I'm  prosperous  I  always  hope  to  be  more  prosperous  still, 
and  when  I  have  bad  luck,  I  always  wish  for  worse  luck — 
if  it'll  only  come.  I  never  allow  myself  to  be  disappointed. 
The  longer  I  live  the  more  anxious  am  I  to  do  some  good 
to  my  fellow-men.  I've  passed  the  blossom  of  my  life,  and 
I  don't  expect  to  live  many  years  longer  ;  I  haven't  lived  as 
I  ought  to  have  lived,  but  I  hope  it'll  be  well  with  me  when 
1  come  to  take  my  final  sleep.  But  enough.  I'm  going  out 
to  my  mine  on  a  visit  to-morrow,  and  if  you'll  go  with  me, 
I'll  show  you  some  real  Vermont  trout,  and  mountain  peaks 
which  would  shame  the  camel's  hump  of  old  Yankee  land." 


I  did  not  accept  Lorenzo's  tempting  invitation,  but  I 
made  up  my  mind  that  he  was  an  original.  Some  of  the 
scenery  to  which  he  alluded  I  shall  visit  in  due  time. 

In  former  times,  as  before  intimated,  the  miners  of  this 
region  were  mostly  foreigners,  and  an  abandoned  race,  but 
the  principal  deposits  and  veins  are  now  worked  by  native 
Georgians,  who  are  a  very  respectable  class  of  people- 
Among  them  are  many  young  men,  who  labor  hard  and  are 
intelligent.  The  dangers  of  mining  in  this  region  are 
rather  uncommon,  owing  principally  to  the  lightness  of  the 
soil.  Many  of  the  accidents  which  occur,  however,  are 
the  result  of  carelessness  ;  and  the  most  melancholy  one  I 
have  heard  of  is  as  follows  :  A  man  named  Hunt,  together 
with  his  son  and  another  man  named  Smith,  were  digging 
for  gold  on  the  side  of  a  neighboring  hill.  At  the  end  of  a 
tunnel,  which  was  some  thirty  feet  long,  they  excavated  a 
large  cave  or  hall,  which  they  had  neglected  to  support  in 
the  usual  manner.  They  apprehended  no  danger,  but  were 
told  by  a  neighbor  that  their  conduct  was  imprudent. 
The  elder  Hunt  thought  he  wou'd  be  on  the  safe  side,  and 
on  a  certain  afternoon  went  into  the  woods  to  cut  the 
necessary  timber,  while  his  son  and  Smith  continued  their 
labors  in  the  cave.  Night  came  on,  and  the  father,  having 
accomplished  his  task,  retired  to  his  home.  On  taking  his 
seat  at  the  supper  table  it  came  into  his  mind  that  his  son 
and  Smith  were  somewhat  later  in  coming  home  than 
usual.  He  waited  awhile,  but  becoming  impatient  set  out 
for  the  cave,  and,  on  reaching  it,  to  his  utter  astonishment 
and  horror,  he  found  that  the  roof  of  the  cave  had  fallen  in. 
The  alarm  was  given,  and  the  whole  village  was  assembled 
to  extricate  the  unfortunate  miners,  and  by  the  aid  of 
orches  the  bodies  w^ere  recovered.     The  boy  was  found  in 


a  running  attitude,  as  if  overtaken  while  endeavoring  to 
escape,  and  the  man  Smith  was  found  clinging  to  a  single 
post,  which  had  been  vainly  used  to  prop  the  ceiling  of  the 

With  regard  to  the  means  employed  by  the  miners  I 
have  but  one  word  to  say.  The  deposit  gold  is  extracted 
from  the  gravel  by  means  of  a  simple  machine  called  a 
rocker,  which  merely  shifts  and  washes  out  the  metal.  The 
vein  gold  is  brought  to  light  by  means  of  what  is  called  a 
pounding  mill,  which  reduces  the  rock  to  the  consistency 
of  sand,  w^hen  the  ore  is  separated  by  the  use  of  quick- 
silver. In  this  particular  department  of  their  business  the 
Dahlonega  miners  confess  themselves  to  be  comparatively 
ignorant ;  and  what  proves  this  to  be  the  case  is  the  fact, 
that  some  of  their  ore  has  frequently  been  worked  over  a 
second  time  with  considerable  profit. 

But  the  prominent  attraction  of  Dahlonega,  I  have  not 
yet  touched  upon — I  allude  to  the  Mint  Establishment. 
The  building  itself,  which  is  quite  large,  has  a  commanding 
appearance.  It  was  erected  in  1837,  at  an  expense  of 
$70,000,  and  the  machinery  which  it  contains  cost  #30,000. 
It  is  built  of  brick,  but  stuccoed  so  as  to  resemble  stone. 
It  gives  employment  to  nine  men,  who  receive  for  their 
services,  collectively,  the  sum  of  f  12,000.  The  Superin- 
tendent, who  also  acts  as  Treasurer,  is  J.  F.  Cooper,  (son, 
by  the  way,  of  the  famous  actor  of  that  name  ;)  the  Coiner 
is  D.  H.  Mason,  who  has  a  very  interesting  cabinet  of 
minerals,  and  the  Assayer  is  J.  L.  Todd.  The  Dahlonega 
Branch  Mint  and  the  one  located  at  Charlottsville,  North 
Carolina,  are  the  only  ones  in  the  United  States  which  coin 
the  gold  on  the  very  spot  where  it  is  found.  The  New 
Orleans  Branch,  as  well  as  the  mother  Mint  in  Philadelphia, 


are  chiefly  occupied  with  foreign  ores.  Of  the  two  first 
mentioned,  Dahlonega  has  thus  far  been  the  most  success- 
ful, the  coinage  in  one  year  having  amounted  to  i600,000. 
At  the  present  time,  however,  the  business  of  this  Mint  is 
said  to  be  on  the  wane.  The  coinage  of  the  three  branch 
Mints  mentioned  above  is  uniform  with  that  of  the  mother 
Mint,  and  it  is  all  systematically  tested  there  for  approval. 
It  thus  appears  that  the  whole  establishment  is  a  branch  of 
the  Treasury  Department  of  the  United  States,  and  under 
the  supervision  of  the  Secretary  of  the  Treasury,  and  an 
account  of  the  progress  and  condition  of  the  bureau  is 
annually  given  to  Congress. 

The  smallest  amount  of  gold  ore  received  at  the  Dah- 
lonega Mint  by  law  has  to  be  worth  one  hundred  dollars. 
When  the  miner  has  obtained  a  sufficient  amount,  he  takes 
it  to  the  Mint  and  delivers  it  to  the  Superintendent.  That 
officer  takes  an  account  of  it,  and  passes  it  over  to  the 
Assayer,  who  fixes  its  value,  when  the  miner  receives  the 
allotted  sum  of  money.  The  operation  of  coining  is  per- 
formed by  the  power  of  steam,  and  may  be  briefly  described 
by  the  words  rolling,  drawing,  cutting,  and  stamping. 
Some  of  the  Dahlonega  gold  is  said  to  be  as  pure  as  any  in 
the  world,  but  it  is  commonly  alloyed  with  silver.  One  or 
two  specimens  were  shown  me,  which  were  just  one  half 
silver  :  and  yet  it  is  said  that  silver  ore  is  nowhere  found 
in  this  section  of  country.  The  value  of  pure  gold  is  one 
dollar  per  pennyweight :  and  I  have  learned  since  I  came 
here  that  every  genuine  American  eagle  is  made  by  law  to 
contain  one-twentieth  of  silver  and  one-twentieth  of  copper. 
The  word  bullion,  which  we  hear  so  often  mentioned 
among  commercial  men,  is  a  misnomer,  for  it  is  legitimately 
applied  only  to  unwrought  gold,  washed  grains  or  gold  dust, 


amalgamated  cakes  and  balls,  and  melted  bars  and  cakes  ; 
and  the  word  ingot  is  applied  to  a  bar  of  gold,  which  may- 
be manufactured  into  two  hundred  half  eagles,  or  one 
thousand  dollars.  To  give  a  scientific  account  of  what  I 
have  seen  in  the  Dahlonega  Mint  would  probably  please  my 
scientific  readers,  but,  as  I  am  not  writing  for  them,  they 
must  excuse  me.  "  What  is  writ,  is  writ ;  would  it  were 
worthier !" 


Logan's  Plantation,  Georgia,  April,  1848. 

During  my  stay  at  Dahlonega  I  heard  a  good  deal  said 
about  a  native  wonder,  called  "  Track  Rock,"  which  was 
reported  to  be  some  thirty  miles  off,  on  the  northwestern 
side  of  the  Blue  Ridge  Mountains.  On  revolving  the  in- 
formation in  my  mind,  I  concluded  that  this  rock  was  iden- 
tical with  one  which  had  been  mentioned  to  me  by  Professor 
James  Jackson,  of  the  University  of  Georgia,  and  I  also 
remembered  that  the  Professor  had  shown  me  a  specimen 
of  the  rock  he  alluded  to,  which  contained  the  imprint  or 
impression  of  a  human  foot.  My  curiosity  was  of  course 
excited,  and  I  resolved  to  visit  the  natural  or  artificial  won- 
der. I  made  the  pilgrimage  on  foot,  and  what  I  saw  and 
heard  of  peculiar  interest  on  the  occasion  the  reader  will 
find  recorded  in  the  present  letter. 

In  accomplishing  the  trip  to  "  Track  Rock  "  and  back 
again  to  this  place  I  was  two  days.  On  the  first  day  I 
walked  only  twenty  miles,  having  tarried  occasionally  to 
take  a  pencil  sketch  or  hear  the  birds,  as  they  actually  filled 
the  air  with  melody.  My  course  lay  over  a  very  uneven 
country,  which  was  entirely  uncultivated,  excepting  some 
half  dozen  quiet  vales,  which  presented  a  cheerful  appear- 
ance. The  woods  w^ere  generally  composed  of  oak  and 
chestnut,  and  destitute  to  a  considerable  extent  of  under- 


growth ;  the  soil  was  composed  of  clay  and  sand,  and  ap- 
parently fertile ;  and  clear  sparkling  brooks  intersected  the 
country,  and  were  the  first  that  I  had  seen  in  Georgia.  I 
had  a  number  of  extensive  mountain  views,  which  were 
more  beautiful  than  imposing;  and  among  the  birds  that 
attracted  my  attention  were  the  red-bird,  mocking-bird, 
quail,  lark,  poke,  woodpecker,  jay,  king-bird,  crow,  blue- 
bird, and  dove,  together  with  a  large  black-bird,  having  a 
red  head,  (apparently  of  the  woodpecker  genus,)  and  ano- 
ther smaller  bird,  whose  back  was  of  a  rich  black,  breast  a 
bright  brown,  with  an  occasional  white  feather  in  its  wing, 
which  I  fancied  to  be  a  species  of  robin.  Since  these  were 
my  companions,  it  may  be  readily  imagined  that  "  pleasantly 
the  liours  of  Thalaba  went  by." 

I  spent  the  night  at  a  place  called  "  Tesantee  Gap,"  in 
the  cabin  of  a  poor  farmer,  where  I  was  most  hospitably 
entertained.  My  host  had  a  family  of  nine  sons  and  three 
daughters,  not  one  of  whom  had  ever  been  out  of  the  wil- 
derness region  of  Georgia.  Though  the  father  was  a  very 
intelligent  man  by  nature,  he  told  me  that  he  had  received 
no  education,  and  could  hardly  read  a  chapter  in  the  Bible. 
He  informed  me,  too,  that  his  children  were  but  little  bet- 
ter informed,  and  seemed  deeply  to  regret  his  inabiUty  to 
give  them  the  schooling  which  he  felt  they  needed.  "1 
have  always  desired;"  said  he,  "  that  I  could  live  on  some 
public  road,  so  that  my  girls  might  occasional!}^  see  a  civil- 
ized man,  since  it  is  fated  that  they  will  never  meet  with 
them  in  society."  I  felt  sorry  for  the  worthy  man,  and  en- 
deavored to  direct  his  attention  from  himself  to  the  sur- 
rounding country.  He  told  me  the  mountains  were  suscep- 
tible of  cultivation  even  to  their  summits,  and  that  the  prin- 
cipal productions  of  his  farm  were  corn,  wheat,  rye,  and 


potatoes;  also,  that  the  country  abounded  in  game,  such  as 
deer,  turkeys,  and  bears,  and  an  occasional  panther.  Some 
of  the  mountains,  he  said,  were  covered  with  hickory,  and 
a  peculiar  kind  of  oak,  and  that  on  said  mountains  gray 
squirrels  were  very  abundant.  The  streams,  he  informed 
me,  were  well  supplied  with  large  minnows,  by  which  I  af- 
terwards ascertained  he  meant  the  brook  trout. 

While  conversing  with  my  old  friend,  an  hour  or  so  be- 
fore sunset,  we  were  startled  by  the  baying  of  his  hounds, 
and  on  looking  up  the  narrow  road  running  by  his  home, 
we  saw  a  fine-looking  doe  coming  towards  us  on  the  run. 
In  its  terror  the  poor  creature  made  a  sudden  turn,  and  sca- 
ling a  garden  fence  was  overtaken  by  the  dogs  on  a  spot 
near  which  the  wife  of  my  host  was  planting  seeds,  when 
she  immediately  seized  a  bean-pole,  and  by  a  single  blow 
deprived  the  doe  of  life.     In  a  very  few  moments  her  hus- 
band was  on  the  ground,  and,  having  put  his  knife  to  the 
throat  of  the  animal,  the  twain  re-entered  their  dwelling, 
as  if  nothing  had   happened  out  of  the  common  order  of 
events.    This  was  the  first  deer  that  I  ever  knew  to  be  kill- 
ed by  a  woman.    When  I  took  occasion  to  compliment  the 
dogs  of  my  old  friend,  he  said  that  one  of  them  was  a  "  pow- 
erful runner ;  for  he  had  known  him  to  follow  a  deer  for 
three  days  and  three  nights."     Having  in  view  my  future 
rambles  among  the  mountains,  I  questioned  my  companion 
about  the  snakes  of  this  region,  and,  after  remarking  that 
:hey  were  "  very  plenty,"  he  continued  as  follows  :  "  But  of 
all  the  snake  stories  you  ever  heard  tell  of,  I  do  not  believe 
you  ever  heard  of  a  snake  fight.     I  saw  one,  Monday  was 
a  week,  between  a  black-racer  and  a  rattlesnake.     It  was 
in  the  road,  about  a  mile  from  here,  and  when  I  saw  them 
the  racer  had  the  other  by  the  back  of  the  head,  and  was 


coiling  his  body  all  around  him,  as  if  to  squeeze  him  to  death. 
The  scuffle  was  pretty  severe,  but  the  racer  soon  killed  the 
fellow  with  rattles,  and  I  killed  the  racer.  It  was  a  queer 
scrape,  and  I  reckon  you  do  not  often  see  the  like  in  your 

I  should  have  obtained  some  more  mites  of  information 
from  my  host  had  not  a  broken  tooth  commenced  aching, 
and  hurried  me  off  to  bed, 

I  left  the  habitation  of  my  mountain  friend  immediately 
after  breakfast  the  following  morning,  and  "  ne'er  repassed 
that  hoary  threshold  more." 

On  the  following  day  I  passed  through  the  Blue  Ridge, 
and  visited  the  Mecca  of  my  pilgrimage,  and  was — disap- 
pointed. I  was  piloted  to  it  by  a  neighboring  mountaineer, 
who  remarked,  "  This  is  Track  Rock,  and  it's  no  great 
shakes  after  all."  I  found  it  occupying  an  unobtrusive 
place  by  the  road  side.  It  is  of  an  irregular  form  and  quite 
smooth,  rises  gradually  from  the  ground  to  the  height  of  per- 
haps three  feet,  and  is  about  twenty  feet  long  by  the  most 
liberal  measurement.  It  is  evidently  covered  with  a  great 
variety  of  tracks,  including  those  of  men,  bears  or  dogs,  and 
turkeys,  together  with  indistinct  impressions  of  a  man's 
hand.  Some  of  the  impressions  are  half  an  inch  thick,  while 
many  of  them  appear  to  be  almost  entirely  effaced.  The 
rock  seemed  to  be  a  species  of  slate-colored  soapstone.  The 
conclusion  to  which  I  have  arrived,  after  careful  examina- 
tion, is  as  follows  :  This  rock  is  located  on  what  was  once 
an  Indian  trail,  and,  having  been  used  by  the  Cherokees  as 
a  resting  place,  it  was  probably  their  own  ingenuity  which 
conceived  and  executed  the  characters  which  now  puzzle 
the  philosophy  of  many  men.  The  scenery  about  Track 
Rock  is  not  remarkable  for  its  grandeur,  though  you  can 


hardly  turn  the  eye  in  any  direction  without  beholding  an 
agreeable  mountain  landscape.  In  returning  through  Te- 
santee  Gap  and  the  valley  below,  1  met  with  no  adventures 
worth  recording,  and  will  therefore  conclude  my  present 
epistle  with  a  paragraph  concerning  the  plantation  where  I 
am  now  tarrying. 

The  proprietor  is  an  intelligent  and  worthy  gentleman, 
who  is  reputed  to  be  the  nabob  of  this  region.  He  acquired 
a  portion  of  his  w^ealth  by  digging  gold,  but  is  now  chiefly 
devoting  himself  to  agriculture.  He  complains  of  the  little 
advancement  which  the  people  of  Northern  Georgia  are 
making  in  the  arts  of  husbandry,  and  thinks  that  it  would 
be  much  better  for  the  State  if  the  people  could  be  persuad- 
ed to  follow  the  plough,  instead  of  wasting  their  time  and 
money  in  searching  for  gold,  which  metal,  he  seems  to  think, 
is  nearly  exhausted  in  this  section  of  country.  Among  the 
curious  things  which  I  have  seen  under  his  roof,  is  a  small 
but  choice  collection  of  minerals,  fossil  remains,  and  Indian 
relics,  belonging  to  his  eldest  son.  Among  the  latter  may 
be  mentioned  a  heavy  stone  pipe,  made  in  imitation  of  a 
duck,  which  was  found  in  Macon  county.  North  Carolina, 
fifteen  feet  below  the  surface;  and  also  a  small  cup,  similar 
to  a  crucible,  "and  made  of  an  unknown  earthy  material, 
which  was  found  in  this  county  about  nine  feet  below  the 
surface,  and  directly  under  a  large  tree.  But  the  mail 
boy's  horn  is  blowing  and  I  must  close. 


Valley  of  Nacoochee,  Georgia,  April,  1848. 

I  NOW  write  from  the  most  charming  valley  of  this  south- 
ern wilderness.  The  river  Nacoochee  is  a  tributary  of  the 
Chattahooche,  and,  for  this  country,  is  a  remarkably  clear, 
cold,  and  picturesque  stream.  From  the  moment  that  it 
doffs  the  title  of  brook  and  receives  the  more  dignified  one 
of  river,  it  begins  to  wind  itself  in  a  most  wayward  manner 
through  a  valley  which  is  some  eight  or  ten  miles  long, 
when  it  wanders  from  the  vision  of  the  ordinary  traveller 
and  loses  itself  among  unexplored  hills.  The  valley  is 
perhaps  a  mile  wide,  and,  as  the  surrounding  hills  are  not 
lofty,  it  is  distinguished  more  for  its  beauty  than  any  other 
quality  ;  and  this  characteristic  is  greatly  enhanced  by  the 
fact,  that  while  the  surrounding  country  remains  in  its 
original  wilderness  the  valley  itself  is  highly  cultivated,  and 
the  eye  is  occasionally  gratified  by  cottage  scenes  which 
suggest  the  ideas  of  contentment  and  peace.  Before  the 
window  where  1  am  now  writing  lies  a  broad  meadow, 
where  horses  and  cattle  are  quietly  grazing,  and  from  the 
neighboring  hills  comes  to  my  ear  the  frequent  tinkling  of 
a  bellj  which  tells  me  that  the  sheep  or  goats  are  returning 
from  their  morning  rambles  in  the  cool  woods. 

And  now  for  the  associations  connected  with  the  valley 
of  Nacoochee.     Foremost  among  them  all  is  a  somewhat 


isolated  mountain,  the  summit  of  which  is  nearly  three 
miles  distant  from  the  margin  of  the  valley,  It  occupies  a 
conspicuous  position  in  all  the  views  of  the  surrounding 
country,  and  from  one  point  partially  resembles  the  figure 
of  a  crouching  bear,  from  which  circumstance  it  was 
named  the  Yonah  Mountain — yonah  being  the  Cherokee  for 
bear.  The  mountain  bear  seems  to  be  proud  of  his  exalted 
position,  and  well  he  may,  for  he  is  the  natural  guardian  of 
one  of  the  sweetest  valleys  in  the  world.  Its  height  is 
nearly  two  thousand  feet  above  the  water  in  its  vicinity. 

But  the  artificial  memorials  of  Nacoochee  are  deserving 
of  a  passing  notice.  On  the  southern  side  of  the  valley, 
and  about  half  a  mile  apart,  are  two  mounds,  w^hich  are 
the  wonder  of  all  who  see  them.  They  are  perhaps  forty 
feet  high,  and  similar  in  form  to  a  half  globe.  One  of  them 
has  been  cultivated  while  the  other  is  covered  with  grass  and 
bushes,  and  surmounted,  directly  on  the  top,  by  a  large  pine 
tree.  Into  one  of  them  an  excavation  has  been  made,  and, 
as  I  am  informed,  pipes,  tomahawks,  and  human  bones 
were  found  in  great  numbers.  Connected  with  these 
is  an  Indian  legend,  which  I  will  give  my  readers  presently. 

Many  discoveries  have  been  made  in  the  valley  of 
Nacoochee  corroborating  the  general  impression,  that  De 
Soto  or  some  other  adventurer  in  the  olden  times  performed 
a  pilgrimage  through  the  northern  part  of  Georgia  in  search 
of  gold.  Some  twelve  years  ago,  for  example,  half  a  dozen 
log  cabins  were  discovered  in  one  portion  of  the  valley, 
lying  upwards  of  ten  feet  below  the  surface ;  and,  in  other 
places,  something  resembling  a  furnace,  together  with  iron 
spoons,  pieces  of  earthenware,  and  leaden  plates  were  dis- 
interred, and  are  now  in  the  possession  of  the  resident 
inhabitants.     In  this  connection  might  also  be  mentioned 


the  ruin  of  an  old  fort,  which  may  now  be  seen  a  few  miles 
north  of  Nacoochee  valley.  It  is  almost  obliterated  from 
the  face  of  the  earth,  but  its  various  ramparts  can  be  easily 
traced  by  the  careful  observer.  Its  purpose  we  can  easily 
divine,  but  with  regard  to  its  history  even  the  Indians  are 
entirely  ignorant. 

Connected  with  the  valley  of  Nacoochee  are  the  follow- 
ing legends,  which  weVe  related  to  me  by  the  "  oldest  inhab- 
itant" of  this  region. 

In  this  valley,  in  the  olden  times,  resided  Kostoyeak,  or 
the  "  Sharp  Shooter,"  a  chief  of  the  Cherokee  nation.  He 
was  renowned  for  his  bravery  and  cunning,  and  among  his 
bitterest  enemies  was  one  Chonesta,OT  the  "Black  Dog,"  a 
chief  of  the  Tennessees.  In  those  days  there  was  a  Yemas- 
see  maiden  residing  in  the  low  country,  who  was  renowned 
for  her  beauty  in  all  the  land,  and  she  numbered  among  her 
many  suitors  the  famous  Kostoyeak  and  four  other  warriors, 
upon  each  of  whom  she  was  pleased  to  smile  ;  whereupon 
she  discarded  all  the  others,  and  among  them  the  Tennessee 
chief  Chonesta.  On  returning  to  his  own  country  he 
breathed  revenge  against  Kostoyeak,  and  threatened  that 
if  he  succeeded  to  the  hand  of  the  Yemassee  beauty  the 
Cherokee's  tribe  should  be  speedily  exterminated.  The 
merits  of  the  four  rival  chiefs  was  equal,  and  the  Yemassee 
chief  could  not  decide  upon  which  to  bestow  his  daughter. 
Kostoyeak  was  her  favorite,  and  in  order  to  secure  a  mar- 
riage with  him,  she  proposed  to  her  father  that  she  should 
accept  that  warrior  who  could  discover  where  the  waters 
of  the  Savannah  and  those  of  the  Tennessee  took  their  rise 
among  the  mountains.  Supposing  that  no  such  place 
existed  the  father  gave  his  consent,  and  the  great  hunt  was 
commenced.      At  the  end  of   the   first   noon  Kostoyeak 


returned  with  the  intelligence  that  he  had  found  a  gorge — 
now  called  the  gap  of  the  Blue  Ridge  as  well  as  Rabun 
Gap — where  the  two  great  rivers  "  shake  hands  and  com- 
mence their  several  journeys,  each  singing  a  song  of  glad- 
ness and  freedom."  In  process  of  time  the  Yemassee  chief 
was  convinced  that  Kostoyeak  told  a  true  story,  and  he 
was,  therefore,  married  to  the  lons^-loved  maiden  of  his 

Enraged  at  these  events,  Chonesta  assembled  his  war- 
riors, and  made  war  upon  the  fortunate  Cherokee  and  his 
w^hole  tribe.  The  Great  Spirit  was  the  friend  of  Kostoyeak, 
and  he  was  triumphant.  He  slew  Chonesta  with  his  own 
hand  and  destroyed  his  bravest  warriors,  and  finally  became 
the  possessor  of  half  the  entire  Tennessee  valley. 

Years  rolled  on  and  Kostoyeak  as  well  as  his  wife  were 
numbered  among  the  dead.  They  were  buried  with  every 
Indian  honor  in  the  valley  of  Nacoochee,  and,  to  perpet- 
uate their  many  virtues  in  after  years,  their  several  nations 
erected  over  their  remains  the  mounds  which  now  adorn  a 
portion  of  the  valley  where  they  lived. 

The  other  legend  to  which  I  have  alluded  is  as  follows  : 
The  meaning  of  the  Indian  word  Nacoochee  is  the  "  Even- 
ing Star,"  and  was  applied  to  a  Cherokee  girl  of  the  same 
name.  She  was  distinguished  for  her  beauty  and  a  strange 
attachment  for  the  flowers  and  the  birds  of  her  native 
valley.  She  died  in  her  fifteenth  summer,  and  at  the  twi- 
light hour  of  a  summer  day.  On  the  evening  following  her 
burial  a  newly-born  star  made  its  appearance  in  the  sky, 
and  all  her  kindred  cherished  the  belief  that  she  whom  they 
had  thought  as  lovely  as  the  star,  had  now  become  the 
brightest  of  the  whole  array  which  looked  down  upon  the 
world,  and  so  she  has  ever  been  remembered  (as  well  as  the 


valley  where  she  lived)  as  Na-coo-chee  ;  or  the  Evening 
Star.  The  spot  of  earth  where  the  maiden  is  said  to  have 
been  buried  is  now  covered  with  flowers,  and  the  waters 
of  the  beautiful  Nacoochee  seem  to  be  murmuring  a  per- 
petual song  in  memory  of  the  departed. 

That  my  letter  may  leave  a  permanent  impression  upon 
my  reader's  mind,  I  will  append  to  it  the  following  poem 
written  by  a  Georgia  poet,  Henry  R.  Jackson,  Esq. 

PCount  Yonnfj— l^alc  of  Wacoodjec. 

Before  me,  as  I  stand,  his  broad,  round  head 

Mount  YoNAH  lifts  the  neighboring  hills  above, 
While,  at  his  foot,  all  pleasantly  is  spread 

Nacoochee's  vale,  sweet  as  a  dream  of  love. 

Cradle  of  Peace  !  mild,  gentle  as  the  dove 
Whose  tender  accents  from  yon  woodlands  swell, 

Must  she  have  been  who  thus  has  interwove 
Her  name  with  thee,  and  thy  soft,  holy  spell, 
And  all  of  peace  which  on  this  troubled  globe  may  dwell ! 

Nacoochee — in  tradition,  thy  sweet  queen — 

Has  vanished  with  her  maidens  :  not  again 
Along  thy  meadows  shall  their  forms  be  seen  ; 

The  mountain  echoes  catch  no  more  the  strain 

Of  their  wild  Indian  lays  at  evening's  wane  ; 
No  more,  where  rumbling  branches  interwine. 

They  pluck  the  jasmine  flowers,  or  break  the  cane 
Beside  the  marshy  stream,  or  from  the  vine 
Shake  down,  in  purple  showers,  the  luscious  muscadine. 

Yet  round  thee  hangs  the  same  sweet  spirit  still ! 

Thou  art  among  these  hills  a  sacred  spot, 
As  if  shut  out  from  all  the  clouds  of  ill 

That  gloom  so  darkly  o'er  the  human  lot. 

On  thy  green  breast  the  world  I  quite  forgot — 


Its  stern  contentions — its  dark  grief  and  care, 

And  I  breathed  freeer,  deeper,  and  blushed  not 
At  old  emotions  long,  long  stifled  there, 
Which  sprang  once  more  to  life  in  thy  calm,  loving  air. 

I  saw  the  last  bright  gleam  of  sunset  play 

On  Yonah's  lofty  head  :  all  quiet  grew 
Thy  bosom,  which  beneath  the  shadows  lay 

Of  the  surrounding  mountains  ;  deeper  blue 

Fell  on  their  mighty  summits ;  evening  threw 
Her  veil  o'er  all,  and  on  her  azure  brow 

A  bright  star  shone ;  a  trusting  form  I  drew 
Yet  closer  to  my  side  ;  above,  below. 
Within  were  peace  and  hope  life  may  not  often  know  ! 

Thou  loveliest  of  earth's  valleys  !  fare  thee  well! 

Nor  is  the  parting  pangless  to  my  soul. 
Youth,  hope  and  happiness  with  thee  shall  dwell, 

UnsuUied  Nature  hold  o'er  thee  control. 

And  years  still  leave  thee  beauteous  as  they  roll. 
Oh  !  I  could  linger  with  thee  !  yet  this  spell 

Must  break,  e'en  as  upon  my  heart  it  stole, 
And  found  a  weakness  there  I  may  not  tell — 
An  anxious  life,  a  troubled  future  claim  me  !  fare  thee  well ! 


Clarksville,  Georgia,  April,  1848, 

The  little  village  where  I  am  now  staying  is  decidedly 
the  most  interesting  in  the  northern  part  of  Georgia. 
There  is  nothing  particularly  fine  about  its  buildings,  and 
it  only  contains  some  three  hundred  inhabitants,  but  it 
commands  a  magnificent  prospect  of  two  ranges  of  the  Al- 
leghany Mountains.  It  is  remarkable  for  the  healthfulness 
of  its  climate,  and  is  the  summer  resort  of  between  forty 
and  fifty  of  the  most  wealthy  and  accomplished  families  of 
Georgia  and  South  Carolina,  a  number  of  whom  have 
erected  and  are  erecting  elegant  country  seats  in  its  imme- 
diate vicinity.  It  contains  a  mineral  spring,  which  is  said 
to  have  saved  the  lives  of  many  individuals ;  and  it  patron- 
izes two  hotels,  where  the  tourist  may  obtain  all  the  luxuries 
of  the  North  as  well  as  the'  South,  and  in  a  style  which 
must  gratify  and  astonish  him,  when  he  remembers  that  he 
has  reached  the  end  of  carriage  travelling,  and  is  on  the 
confines  of  an  almost  impassable  wilderness.  The  water- 
power  in  its  neighborhood  would  supply  at  least  fifty  facto- 
ries, and  it  yields  more  than  a  sufficient  quantity  of  iron  ore 
to  furnish  constant  employment  to  an  extensive  smelting 
establishment  and  furnace.  Its  soil  is  of  the  best  quality, 
and  yields  in  great  abundance  every  variety  of  produce  pe- 
culiar to  a  temperate  climate.     But  the  chief  attraction  of 


Clarksville  is,  that  it  is  the  centre  of  some  of  the  most  roman- 
tic scenery  in  the  world,  and  the  stopping-place  for  all 
those  who  visit  Nacoochee  Valley,  Yonah  Mountain,  the 
Tuccoah  Cascade,  Tallulah  Falls,  and  Tray  Mountain. 
The  first  two  curiosities  alluded  to  have  already  been 
described,  and  I  now  purpose  to  introduce  to  my  reader  the 
peculiar  and  beautiful  Cascade  of  Tuccoah,  reserving  the 
two  other  marvels  of  nature  for  future  letters. 

The  Tuccoah  is  a  very  small  stream — a  mere  brooklet, 
and  for  the  most  part  is  not  at  all  distinguished  for  any 
other  quality  than  those  belonging  to  a  thousand  other 
sparkling  streams  of  this  region  ;  but,  in  its  oceanward 
course,  it  performs  one  leap  w^hich  has  given  it  a  reputation. 
On  account  of  this  leap  the  aborigines  christened  it  with 
the  name  of  Tuccoah,  or  the  beautiful.  To  see  this  cas- 
cade, in  your  mind's  eye,  (and  I  here  partly  quote  the  lan- 
guage of  one  who  could  fully  appreciate  its  beauty,)  imagine 
a  sheer  precipice  of  gray  and  rugged  rock,  one  hundred  and 
eighty-six  feet  high,  with  a  little  quiet  lake  at  its  base,  sur- 
rounded by  sloping  masses  of  granite  and  tall  shadowy  trees. 
From  the  overhanging  lips  of  this  cliff,  aloft,  between  your 
upturned  eyes  and  the  sky  comes  a  softly  flowing  stream. 
After  making  a  joyous  leap  it  breaks  into  a  shower  of  heavy 
spray,  and  scatters  its  drops  more  and  more  widely  and 
minute,  until,  in  little  more  than  a  drizzling  mist,  it  scatters 
the  smooth,  moss-covered  stones  lying  immediately  beneath. 
All  the  way  up  the  sides  of  this  precipice  cling,  wherever 
space  is  aflbrded,  little  tufts  of  moss  and  delicate  vines  and 
creepers,  contrasting  beautifully  with  the  solid  granite. 
There  is  no  stunning  noise  of  falling  waters,  but  only  a 
dripping,  pattering,  plashing  in  the  lake  ;  a  murmuring 
sound,  which  must  be  very  grateful  during  the  noontide  heat 


of  a  summer  day.  There  comes  also  a  soft  cool  breeze, 
constantly  from  the  foot  of  the  precipice,  caused  by  the 
falling  shower,  and  this  ripples  the  surface  of  the  pool  and 
gently  agitates  the  leaves  around  and  overhead. 

Connected  w^ith  the  Cascade  of  Tuccoah  is  an  Indian  tra- 
dition, which  was  related  to  me  by  a  gentleman  connected 
with  the  Georgia  University,  who  obtained  it  from  a  Cher- 
okee Chief  The  occurrence  is  said  to  be  well  authenti- 
cated, and  runneth  in  this  wise  :  A  short  time  previous  to 
the  Revolution,  the  Cherokees  were  waging  a  very  bitter 
warfare  against  a  powerful  tribe  of  Indians  who  dwelt  in 
the  country  of  the  Potomac.  During  one  of  their  pitched 
battles,  it  so  happened  that  the  Cherokees  made  captive 
about  a  dozen  of  their  enemies,  whom  they  brought  into 
their  own  country  safely  bound.  Their  intention  was  to 
sacrifice  the  prisoners ;  but,  as  they  wished  the  ceremony 
to  be  particularly  imposing,  on  account  of  the  fame  of  the 
captives,  it  was  resolved  to  postpone  the  sacrifice  until  the 
following  moon.  In  the  meantime  the  Cherokee  braves 
went  forth  to  battle  again,  while  the  prisoners,  now  more 
securely  bound  than  ever,  were  left  in  a  large  wigwam  near 
Tuccoah,  in  the  especial  charge  of  an  old  woman,  who  was 
noted  for  her  savage  patriotism. 

Day  followed  day,  and,  as  the  unfortunate  enemies  lay 
in  the  lodge  of  the  old  w^oman,  she  dealt  out  to  them  a 
scanty  supply  of  food  and  water.  They  besought  the  wo- 
man to  release  them,  and  oftered  her  the  most  valuable  of 
Indian  bribes,  but  she  held  her  tongue  and  remained  faith- 
ful to  her  trust.  It  was  now  the  morning  of  a  pleasant 
day,  when  an  Indian  boy  called  at  the  door  of  the  old  wo- 
man's lodge  and  told  her  that  he  had  seen  a  party  of  their 
enemies  in  a  neighboring  valley,  and  he  thought  it  probable 


that  they  had  come  to  rescue  their  fellows.  The  woman 
heard  this  intelligence  in  silence,  but  bit  her  lip  in  anger 
and  defiance.  On  re-entering  her  lodge  another  appeal  for 
freedom  was  made,  and  the  prisoners  were  delighted  to  see 
a  smile  playing  upon  the  countenance  of  their  keeper.  She 
told  them  she  had  relented,  and  was  willing  to  let  them  es- 
cape their  promised  doom,  but  it  must  be  on  certain  condi- 
tions. They  were  first  to  give  into  her  hands  all  their  per- 
sonal effects,  which  she  would  bury  under  the  lodge.  She 
did  not  wish  to  be  discovered,  and  they  must  therefore  de- 
part at  the  dead  of  night.  She  did  not  wish  them  to 
know  how  to  find  their  way  back  to  the  lodge,  whence 
they  might  see  fit  to  take  away  her  reward,  and  she  there- 
fore desired  that  they  should  be  blindfolded,  and  consent  to 
her  leading  them  about  two  miles  through  a  thick  wood, 
into  an  open  country,  when  she  would  release  them.  The 
prisoners  gladly  consented  ;  and,  while  they  were  suflfering 
themselves  to  be  stripped  of  their  robes  and  weapons,  a 
heavy  cloud  canopied  the  sky,  as  if  heralding  a  storm.  At 
the  hour  of  midnight  loud  peals  of  thunder  bellowed  through 
the  firmament,  and  terribly  flashed  the  lightning.  The 
night  and  the  contemplated  deed  were  admirably  suited, 
thought  the  warriors,  and  so  thought  the  woman  also.  She 
placed  leathern  bands  around  the  eyes  of  her  captives ; 
and,  having  severed  the  thongs  which  confined  their  feet, 
bade  them  follow  whither  she  might  lead,  '^rhey  were  con- 
nected with  each  other  by  iron  withes ;  and  so  the  woman 
led  them  to  their  promised  freedom.  Intricate,  and  wind- 
ing, and  tedious  was  the  way ;  but  not  a  murmur  was  ut- 
tered, nor  a  word  spoken.  Now  has  the  strange  procession 
reached  a  level  spot  of  earth,  and  the  men  step  proudly  on 
their  way.     Now  have  they  reached  the  precipice  of  Tuc- 


coah ;  and,  as  the  woman  walks  to  the  very  edge,  she 
makes  a  sudden  wheel,  and,  one  after  the  other,  are  the  poor 
captives  launched  into  the  abyss  below.  A  loud  wail  of 
triumph  echoes  through  the  air  from  the  lips  of  the  woman- 
fiend,  and,  with  the  groans  of  the  dying  in  her  ears,  and 
the  very  lightning  in  her  path,  does  she  retrace  her  steps  to 
her  lodge  to  seek  repose,  and  then  on  the  morrow  to  pro- 
claim her  cruel  and  unnatural  deed. 

In  the  bottom  of  the  Tuccoah  pool  may  now  be  gathered 
small  fragments  of  a  white  material,  resembling  soap-stone, 
and  many  people  allege  that  these  are  the  remains  of  the 
Indian  captives  who  perished  at  the  foot  of  the  precipice. 


Tallulah  Falls,  Georgia,  April,  1848. 

As  a  natural  curiosity  the  Fall?,  of  Tallulah  are  on  a 
par  with  the  River  Saguenay  and  the  Falls  of  Niagara. 
They  had  been  described  to  me  in  the  most  glowing  and 
enthusiastic  manner,  and  yet  the  reality  far  exceeds  the 
scene  which  I  had  conceived.  They  have  filled  me  with 
astonishment,  and  created  a  feeling  strong  enough  almost 
to  induce  me  to  remain  within  hearing  of  their  roar  for- 

The  Cherokee  word  Tallulah  or  Tarrurah  signifies  the 
terrible,  and  was  originally  applied  to  the  river  of  that  name 
on  account  of  its  fearful  falls.  This  river  rises  among  the 
Alleghany  mountains,  and  is  a  tributary  of  the  Savannah. 
Its  entire  course  lies  through  a  mountain  land,  and  in  every 
particular  it  is  a  mountain  stream,  narrow,  deep,  clear,  cold, 
and  subject  to  every  variety  of  mood.  During  the  first 
half  of  its  career  it  winds  among  the  hills  as  if  in  uneasy 
joy,  and  then  for  several  miles  it  wears  a  placid  appearance, 
and  you  can  scarcely  hear  the  murmur  of  its  waters.  Soon, 
tiring  of  this  peaceful  course,  however,  it  narrows  itself 
for  an  approaching  contest,  and  runs  through  a  chasm 
whose  walls,  about  four  miles  in  length,  are  for  the  most 
part  perpendicular ;  and,  after  making  within  the  space  of 
half  a  mile  a  number  of  leaps  as  the  chasm  deepens,  it 


settles  into  a  turbulent  and  angry  mood,  and  so  continues 
for  a  mile  and  a  half  further,  until  it  leaves  the  chasm  and 
regains  its  wonted  character.  The  Falls  of  Tallulah, 
properly  speaking,  are  five  in  number,  and  have  been  chris- 
tened Lodora,  Tempesta,  Oceana,  Honcon,  and  the  Serpen- 
tine. Their  several  heights  are  said  to  be  forty-five  feet, 
one  hundred,  one  hundred  and  twenty,  fifty,  and  thirty  feet, 
making,  in  connection  with  the  accompanying  rapids,  a 
descent  of  at  least  four  hundred  feet  within  the  space  of 
half  a  mile.  At  this  point  the  stream  is  particularly  wind- 
ing, and  the  cliffs  of  solid  granite  on  either  side,  which  are 
perpendicular,  vary  in  height  from  six  hundred  to  nine  hun- 
dred feet,  while  the  mountains  which  back  the  chffs  reach 
an  elevation  of  perhaps  fifteen  hundred  feet.  Many  of  the 
pools  are  very  large  and  very  deep,  and  the  walls  and  rocks 
in  their  immediate  vicinity  are  always  green  with  the  most 
luxuriant  of  mosses.  The  vegetation  of  the  whole  chasm  is 
in  fact  particularly  rich  and  varied  ;  for  you  may  here  find 
not  only  the  pine,  but  specimens  of  every  variety  of  the 
more  tender  trees,  together  with  lichens,  and  vines,  and 
flowers,  which  would  keep  the  botanist  employed  for  half  a 
century.  Up  to  the  present  time,  only  four  paths  have 
been  discovered  leading  to  the  margin  of  the  water,  and  to 
make  either  of  these  descents  requires  much  of  the  nerve 
and  courage  of  the  samphire-gatherer.  Through  this 
immense  gorge  a  strong  wind  is  ever  blowing,  and  the 
sunlight  never  falls  upon  the  cataracts  without  forming 
beautiful  rainbows,  which  contrast  strangely  with  the  sur- 
rounding gloom  and  horror  ;  and  the  roar  of  the  waterfalls, 
eternally  ascending  to  the  sky,  comes  to  the  ear  like  the 
voice  of  God  calling  upon  man  to  wonder  and  admire. 
Of  the  more  peculiar  features  which  I  have  met  with  in 


the  Tallulah  chasm  the  following  are  the  only  ones  which 
have  yet  been  christened,  viz. :  the  Devil's  Pulpit,  the  Devil's 
Dwelling,  the  Eagle's  Nest,  the  Deer  Leap,  Hawthorn's 
Pool,  and  Hanck's  Sliding  Place. 

.  The  Devils  Pulpit  is  a  double-headed  and  exceedingly 
ragged  cliff,  which  actually  hangs  over  the  ravine,  and  esti- 
mated to  be  over  six  hundred  feet  high.  While  standing 
upon  the  brow  of  this  precipice  I  saw  a  number  of  buzzards 
sitting  upon  the  rocks  below,  and  appearing  like  a  flock  of 
blackbirds.  While  looking  at  them  the  thought  came  into 
my  mind  that  I  would  startle  them  from  their  fancied  secu- 
rity by  throwing  a  stone  among  them.  I  did  throw  the 
stone,  and  with  all  my  might  too,  but,  instead  of  going 
across  the  ravine,  as  I  supposed  it  would,  it  fell  out  of  my 
sight,  and  apparently  at  the  very  base  of  the  cliff  upon 
which  I  was  standing.  This  little  incident  gave  me  a 
realizing  sense  of  the  immense  width  and  depth  of  the 
chasm.  While  upon  this  cliff  also,  with  my  arms  clasped 
around  a  small  pine  tree,  an  eagle  came  sailing  up  the 
chasm  in  mid  air,  and,  as  he  cast  his  eye  upward  at  my  in- 
significant form,  he  uttered  a  loud  shriek  as  if  in  anger  at 
my  temerity,  and  continued  on  his  way,  swooping  above 
the  spray  of  the  waterfalls. 

The  Devil's  Dwelling  is  a  cave  of  some  twenty  feet  in 
depth,  which  occupies  a  conspicuous  place  near  the  summit 
of  a  precipice  overlooking  the  Honcon  Fall.  Near  its  out- 
let is  a  singular  rock,  which  resembles  (from  the  opposite 
side  of  the  gorge)  the  figure  of  a  woman  in  a  sitting  posture* 
who  is  said  to  be  the  wife  or  better-half  of  the  devil.  I  do 
not  believe  this  story,  and  cannot  therefore  endorse  the  pre- 
vailing opinion. 

The  Eagle's  Nest  is  a  rock  which  projects  from  the 


brow  of  a  cliff  reputed  to  be  seven  hundred  feet  high,  and 
perpendicular.  The  finest  view  of  this  point  is  from  the 
margin  of  the  water,  where  it  is  grand  beyond  compare. 
To  describe  it  wdth  the  pen  were  utterly  impossible,  but  it 
was  just  such  a  scene  as  would  have  delighted  the  lamented 
Cole,  and  by  a  kindred  genius  alone  can  it  ever  be  placed 
on  the  canvas. 

The  Deer  Leap  is  the  highest  cliff  in  the  whole  chasm, 
measuring  about  nine  hundred  feet,  and  differs  from  its  fel- 
lows in  two  particulars.  From  summit  to  bottom  it  is  al- 
most without  a  fissure  or  an  evergreen,  and  remarkably 
smooth  ;  and  over  it,  in  the  most  beautiful  manner  imagin- 
able, tumbles  a  tiny  stream,  which  scatters  upon  the  rocks 
below  with  infinite  prodigahty ;  the  purest  of  diamonds  and 
pearls  appearing  to  be  woven  into  wreaths  of  foam.  It  ob- 
tained its  name  from  the  circumstance  that  a  deer  was 
once  pursued  to  this  point  by  a  hound,  and  in  its  terror, 
cleared  a  pathway  through  the  air,  and  perished  in  the 
depths  below. 

Hawthorn  s  Pool  derives  its  name  from  the  fact  that  in 
its  apparently  soundless  waters  a  young  and  accomplished 
English  clergyman  lost  his  life  while  bathing  ;  and  Hanck's 
Sliding  Place  is  so  called  because  a  native  of  this  region 
once  slipped  ofi'  of  the  rock  into  a  sheet  of  foam,  but  by  the 
kindness  of  Providence  he  was  rescued  from  his  perilous 
situation  not  much  injured,  but  immensely  frightened. 

But  of  all  the  scenes  which  I  have  been  privileged  to 
enjoy  in  the  Tallulah  chasm,  the  most  glorious  and  superb 
was  witnessed  in  the  night  time.  For  several  days  pre- 
vious to  my  coming  here  the  woods  had  been  on  fire,  and  I 
was  constantly  on  the  watch  for  a  night  picture  of  a  burn- 
ing forest.     On  one  occasion,  as  I  was  about  retiring,  I  saw 


a  lio^ht  in  the  direction  of  the  Falls,  and  concluded  that  I 
would  take  a  walk  to  the  Devil's  Pulpit,  which  was  distant 
from  my  tarrying  place  some  hundred  and  fifty  yards. 
Soon  as  1  reached  there  I  felt  convinced  that  the  fire  would 
soon  be  in  plain  view,  for  I  was  on  the  western  side  of  the 
gorge,  and  the  wind  was  blowing  from  the  eastward  In  a 
very  few  moments  my  anticipations  were  realized,  for  I 
saw  the  flame  licking  up  the  dead  leaves  which  covered  the 
ground,  and  also  stealing  up  the  trunk  of  every  dry  tree  in 
its  path.  A  warm  current  of  air  was  now  wafted  to  my 
cheek  by  the  breeze,  and  I  discovered  with  intense  satisfac- 
tion that  an  immense  dead  pine  which  hung  over  the  oppo- 
site precipice  (and  whose  dark  form  I  had  noticed  distinctly 
pictured  against  the  crimson  background)  had  been  reached 
by  the  flame,  and  in  another  moment  it  was  entirely  in  a 
blaze.  The  excitement  which  now  took  possession  of  my 
mind  was  absolutely  painful ;  and,  as  I  threw  my  arms 
around  a  small  tree,  and  peered  into  the  horrible  chasm,  my 
whole  frame  shook  with  an  indescribable  emotion.  The 
magnificent  torch  directly  in  front  of  me  did  not  seem  to 
have  any  effect  upon  the  surrounding  darkness,  but  threw 
a  ruddy  and  death-like  glow  upon  every  object  in  the  bot- 
tom of  the  gorge.  A  flock  of  vultures  which  were  roosting 
far  down  in  the  ravine  were  frightened  out  of  their  sleep, 
and  in  their  dismay,  as  they  attempted  to  rise,  flew  against 
the  cliflfs  and  amongst  the  trees,  until  they  finally  disap- 
peared ;  and  a  number  of  bats  and  other  winged  creatures 
were  winnowing  their  way  in  every  direction.  The  deep 
black  pools  beneath  were  enveloped  in  a  more  intense 
blackness,  while  the  foam  and  spray  of  a  neighboring  fall 
were  made  a  thousand-fold  more  beautiful  than  before. 
The  vines,  and  lichens,  and  mosses  seemed  to  cling  more 


closely  than  usual  to  their  parent  rocks  ;  and  when  an  oc- 
casional ember  fell  from  its  great  height  far  down,  and  still 
further  down  into  the  abyss  below,  it  made  me  dizzy  and  I 
retreated  from  my  commanding  position.  In  less  than 
twenty  minutes  from  that  time  the  fire  was  exhausted,  and 
the  pall  of  night  had  settled  upon  the  lately  so  brilliant 
chasm,  and  no  vestige  of  the  truly  marvellous  scene  re- 
mained but  an  occasional  wreath  of  smoke  fading  away 
into  the  upper  air. 

During  my  stay  at  the  Falls  of  Tallulah  I  made  every 
effort  to  obtain  an  Indian  legend  or  two  connected  with 
them,  and  it  was  my  good  fortune  to  hear  one  which  has 
never  yet  been  printed.  It  was  originally  obtained  by  the 
white  man  who  first  discovered  the  Falls  from  the  Chero- 
kees,  who  lived  in  this  region  at  the  time.  It  is  in  sub- 
stance as  follows  :  Many  generations  ago  it  so  happened 
that  several  famous  hunters,  who  had  wandered  from  the 
West  towards  what  is  now  the  Savannah  river,  in  search 
of  game,  never  returned  to  their  camping  grounds.  In  pro- 
cess of  time  the  curiosity  as  well  as  the  fears  of  the  nation 
were  excited,  and  an  effort  was  made  to  ascertain  the  cause 
of  their  singular  disappearance.  Whereupon  a  party  of 
medicine-men  were  deputed  to  make  a  pilgrimage  towards 
the  great  river.  They  were  absent  a  whole  moon,  and,  on 
returning  to  their  friends,  they  reported  that  they  had  dis- 
covered a  dreadful  fissure  in  an  unknown  part  of  the  coun- 
try, through  which  a  mountain  torrent  took  its  way  with  a 
deafening  noise.  They  said  that  it  was  an  exceedingly  wild 
place,  and  that  its  inhabitants  were  a  species  of  little  men 
and  women,  who  dwelt  in  the  crevices  of  the  rocks  and  in 
the  grottoes  under  the  waterfalls.  They  had  attempted  by 
every  artifice  in  their  power  to  hold  a  council  with  the  lit- 


tie  people,  but  all  in  vain ;  and,  from  the  shrieks  they  fre- 
quently uttered,  the  medicine-men  knew  that  they  were  the 
enemies  of  the  Indian  race  ;  and,  therefore,  it  was  concluded 
in  the  nation  at  large  that  the  long  lost  hunters  had  been 
decoyed  to  their  death  in  the  dreadful  gorge  which  they 
called  Tallulah.  In  view  of  this  little  legend,  it  is  worthy 
of  remark  that  the  Cherokee  nation,  previous  to  their  de- 
parture for  the  distant  West,  always  avoided  the  Falls  of 
Tallulah,  and  were  seldom  found  hunting  or  fishing  in  their 

P.  S.  Since  writing  the  above,  I  have  met  with  another 
local  poem  by  Henry  R.  Jackson,  Esq.,  which  contains  so 
much  of  the  true  spirit  of  poetry,  that  1  cannot  refrain  from 
giving  it  to  my  readers.  It  was  inspired  by  the  roar  of 
Tallulah,  and  is  as  follows  : — 


But  hark  !  beneath  yon  hoary  precipice, 

The  rush  of  mightier  waters,  as  they  pour 
In  foaming  torrents  through  the  dark  abyss 

Which  echoes  back  the  thunders  of  their  roar. 

Approach  the  frightful  gorge  !  and  gazing  o'er, 
What  mad  emotions  through  their  bosoms  thrill ! 

Hast  ever  seen  so  dread  a  sight  before  ? 
Tallulah  !  by  that  name  we  hail  thee  still, 
And  own  that  thou  art  rightly  called  the  terrible 

In  vain  o'er  thee  shall  glow  with  wild  delight, 
The  painter's  eye,  and  voiceless  still  shall  be 

The  poet's  tongue,  who  from  this  giddy  height 
Shall  kindle  in  thine  awful  minstrelsy ! 
Thou  art  too  mighty  in  thy  grandeur — we 


Too  weak  to  give  fit  utterance  to  the  soul ! 

Thy  billows  mock  us  with  their  tempest  glee, 
As  thundering  on,  while  countless  ages  roll, 
Thou  scornest  man's  applause  alike  with  man's  control ! 

Yet  standing  here  where  mountain  eagles  soar, 

Among  these  toppling  crags,  to  plant  their  nest, 
I  catch  an  inspiration  from  thy  roar. 

Which  will  not  let  my  spirit  be  at  rest. 

I  cast  me  down  upon  the  massive  breast 
Of  this  huge  rock,  that  lifts  to  meet  the  blast, 

Far,  far  above  thy  foam,  his  granite  crest, 
And  eager  thoughts  come  gathering  thick  and  fast, 
The  voices  of  the  future  blending  with  the  past ! 

I  gaze  across  the  yawning  gorge  and  seem 
Once  more  to  see  upon  yon  heights  that  rear 

Their  summits  up  to  catch  the  sunset  gleam, 
The  red  man  of  the  wilderness  appear, 
With  bounding  step,  and  bosom  broad  and  bare, 

And  painted  face,  and  figure  litlie  and  tall. 
Wild  as  surrounding  nature  ;  and  I  hear 

From  yonder  precipice  his  whoop  and  call. 

That  mingle  fiercely  with  the  roaring  water-fall ! 

But  lo !  he  pauses,  for  he  sees  ihee  now. 

Dread  cataract ! — he  stands  entranced — his  yell 
Is  hushed ;  appalled  he  looks  where  far  below. 

Thy  waters  boil  with  a  tumultuous  swell. 

Thou  glorious  orator  of  Nature !  well 
May  his  rude  bosom  own  the  majesty 

Of  thy  dread  eloquence  ;  he  hears  the  knell 
Of  human  things — he  bends  the  suppliant  knee, 
To  the  Great  Spirit  of  the  terrible  in  thee. 

Once  more  I  look  ! — the  dusky  form  has  gone — 
Passed  with  the  onward  course  of  time,  and  passed 


To  come  no  more  ;  perhaps  a  king  upon 

Yon  height  he  sleeps,  rocked  by  the  winter's  blast 
In  couch  all  regal,  where  dead  hands  have  cast 

His  glorious  bones  the  nearest  to  the  stars, 
And  left  him  there  to  rest  in  peace  at  last. 

Forgetful  of  his  glory,  scalps  and  scars — 

The  unsung  Hector  of  a  hundred  bloody  wars. 

Again  I  gaze,  and  other  forms  appear, 

Of  milder  mien  and  far  more  gentle  grace, 
And  softer  tones  are  falling  on  my  ear  ; 

And  yet,  methinks,  less  kindred  wdth  the  place. 

Another,  and  (it  may  be)  nobler  race 
Have  made  these  hills  their  own,  and  they  draw  near 

With  kindling  spirits,  yet  with  cautious  pace ; 
Youth,  age  and  wisdom,  with  his  brow  of  care, 
And  joyous  beauty,  that  has  never  wept  a  tear. 

And  through  the  lapse  of  many  ages  they 

Shall  come  ;  year  after  year  to  thee  shall  bring 
The  searcher  alter  knov/ledge,  and  the  gay 

Who  sport  through  life  as  though  a  morn  in  spring  ; 

And  tears  shall  fall,  and  the  light  laugh  shall  ring 
Beside  thee,  and  the  lonely  heart  shall  seek 

Relief  from  its  eternal  sorrowing—^ 
And  all  shall  feel  upon  their  spirits  break, 
Thoughts  wonderful ;  emotions  which  they  may  not  speak. 

I  turn  towards  the  coming  time  and  hear 

The  voice  of  a  great  people  which  shall  dwell 
Among  these  mountains,  free  as  their  own  air, 

And  chainless  as  thy  current's  ceaseless  swell. 

Behold  them  growing  into  power !     They  fell 
The  old  primeval  forests  which  have  stood 

For  ages  in  the  valleys  ;  they  dispel 
The  shades  from  Nature's  face,  and  thickly  strewed, 
Their  villages  spring  up  amid  the  solitude. 


I  look  again,  and  I  behold  them  not ; 

Silence  resumes  once  more  her  ancient  reign. 
A  solitary  form  stands  on  the  spot, 

Where  mine  had  stood  ;  around  on  hill  and  plain, 

The  palace  crumbles,  and  the  gorgeous  fane 
Sinks  into  dust ;  he  weeps  above  the  tomb 

Of  human  pride,  and  feels  that  it  is  vain  ; 
Yet  shall  thy  voice  arise  amid  the  gloom 
Of  silent  hearths  and  cities,  scornful  of  their  doom. 

I  look  once  more :  behold  'tis  changed  again. 

And  yet  'tis  unchanged  !     Earth  has  upward  shot 
Her  twigs  from  naked  mountain,  vale  and  plain ; 

How  rankly  have  they  grown  above  the  spot, 

Where  cities  crnmble,  and  their  builders  rot ! 
Again  the  forest  moans  beneath  the  blast, 

The  eagle  finds  on  mountain,  clifFand  grot, 
Once  more  his  eyrie  undisturbed  ;  the  vast 
And  melancholy  wilderness  o'er  all  is  cast. 

And  lo  !  upon  the  spot  where  I  had  stood, 

A  second  form — how  like  to  mine  !  has  ta'en 
His  lonely  place,  and  hears  the  solitude 

Return  thy  stunning  anthem  back  again, 

Like  distant  roarings  of  some  mighty  main ; 
The  earth  around  lies  in  her  primal  dress : 

And  far  above,  just  entering  on  her  wane. 
The  full  round  moon  with  not  a  ray  the  less. 
Looks  calmly  forth  as  now,  upon  the  wilderness. 

He  treads  the  earth,  nor  dreams  that  he  has  trod 

On  human  dust.     The  oak  that  o'er  him  waves 
So  proudly,  tells  him  not  how,  through  the  sod. 

Its  roots  sucked  nourishment  from  human  graves. 

The  renovated  stream  its  channel  laves 
Beside  his  feet  as  freshly  as  of  old ; 

Its  moist  bank  not  a  lingering  record  saves 
Of  those  who  dried  its  sources  ;  flowers  unfold 
Their  tints,  nor  tell  how  they  have  fed  on  human  mould. 


Now  from  the  broad  expanse  his  eye  surveys, 

Ambition  !  summon  forth  thy  votaries  ! 
Whose  eagle  vision  drank  the  noontide  blaze, 

Whose  eagle  pinions  fanned  the  highest  breeze. 

Power !  thou  that  gloried'st  in  the  bending  knees 
Of  millions  of  God's  humbled  creatures — seek 

Thy  favorites  now,  who  strode  through  bloody  seas 
To  thrones,  it  may  be,  and  upon  the  weak, 
Bade  human  passion  all  her  vengeance  wreak  ! 

Bid  them  arise  !  stand  forth  !  each  in  his  place 

From  the  broad  waste,  to  greet  the  gazer's  sight 
With  brigh^  insignia,  which  in  life  did  grace 

The  brow,  or  give  the  bounding  heart  delight. 

Arise  !  each  to  the  stature  of  his  might. 
And  tell  of  how  he  lived  and  how  he  died  ! 

Say !  comes  a  single  voice  upon  the  night  ? 
Rises  a  single  form  above  the  common  tide  ? 
Ambition  !  Glory  !  Power  !  oh  !  where  do  ye  abide  ? 

Speak,  Suifering  !  call  thy  pallid  sons  ! 

And  Poverty  !  thy  millions  marshal  forth  ! 
Thy  starving  millions,  with  their  rags  and  groans, 

Who  knew  hell's  tortures  on  God's  smiling  earth  ! 

Name  o'er  thy  thoughtless  legions,  reckless  Mirth  ? 
And  Disappointment !  with  thy  sable  brow. 

Summon  thy  slaves  of  great  or  little  worth ! 
And  Suicide  !  thou  child  of  darkest  woe. 
Speak  to  thy  bleeding  victims,  thou,  who  laid'st  them  low ! 

Behold  they  come  not !     Still  he  stands  alone — 

He  gazes  upward  to  the  midnight  sky, 
The  same  dim  vault  where  orbs  as  brightly  shone, 

When  watched  by  the  Chaldean's  wakeful  eye, 

As  now  they  shine ;  his  dreamings  are  of  high 
And  holy  things  ;  to  him  the  earth  is  young — 

The  heavens  are  young ;  in  joyous  infancy 
A  nation  buds  around — to  whom  belong 
No  past,  no  memories,  but  a  future  bright  and  strong. 


Tallulah  Falls,  Geokgia,  April,  1848. 

The  subject  of  my  present  letter  is  Adam  Vandever, 
"  the  Hunter  of  Tallulah."  His  fame  reached  my  ears 
soon  after  arriving  at  this  place,  and,  having  obtained  a 
guide,  I  paid  him  a  visit  at  his  residence,  which  is  planted 
directly  at  the  mouth  of  the  Tallulah  chasm.  He  lives  in 
a  log-cabin,  occupying  the  centre  of  a  small  valley,  through 
which  the  Tallulah  river  winds  its  wayward  course.  It  is 
completely  hemmed  in  on  all  sides  by  wild  and  abrupt 
mountains,  and  one  of  the  most  romantic  and  beautiful 
nooks  imaginable.  Vandever  is  about  sixty  years  of  age, 
small  in  stature,  has  a  regular  built  weasel  face,  a  small 
gray  eye,  and  wears  a  long  white  beard.  He  was  born  in 
South  Carolina,  spent  his  early  manhood  in  the  wilds  of 
Kentucky,  and  the  last  thirty  years  of  his  life  in  the  wilder- 
ness of  Georgia.  By  way  of  a  frolic,  he  took  a  part  in  the 
Creek  war,  and  is  said  to  have  killed  more  Indians  than  any 
other  white  man  in  the  army.  In  the  battle  of  Ottassee 
alone,  he  is  reported  to  have  sent  his  rifle-ball  through  the 
hearts  of  twenty  poor  heathen,  merely  because  they  had  an 
undying  passion  for  their  native  hills,  which  they  could  not 
bear  to  leave  for  an  unknown  wilderness.  But  Vandever 
aimed  his  rifle  at  the  command  of  his  country,  and  of  course 
the  charge  of  cold-blooded  butchery  does  not  rest  upon  his 


head.  He  is  now  living  with  his  third  wife,  and  claims  to 
be  the  father  of  over  thirty  children,  only  five  of  whom, 
however,  are  living  under  his  roof,  the  remainder  being 
dead  or  scattered  over  the  world.  During  the  summer 
months  he  tills,  with  his  own  hand,  the  few  acres  of  land 
which  constitute  his  domain.  His  live  stock  consists  of  a 
mule  and  some  half  dozen  of  goats,  together  with  a  number 
of  dogs. 

On  inquiring  into  his  forest  life,  he  gave  me,  among 
others,  the  following  particulars.  When  the  hunting  season 
commences,  early  in  November,  he  supplies  himself  with 
every  variety  of  shooting  materials,  steel-traps,  and  a  com- 
fortable stock  of  provisions,  and,  placing  them  upon  his  mule, 
starts  for  some  wild  region  among  the  mountains,  where  he 
remains  until  the  following  spring.  The  shanty  which  he 
occupies  during  this  season  is  of  the  rudest  character,  with 
one  side  always  open,  as  he  tells  me,  for  the  purpose  of  hav- 
ing an  abundance  of  fresh  air.  In  killing  wild  animals  he 
pursues  but  two  methods,  called  "  fire-lighting  "  and  "  still- 
hunting."  His  favorite  game  is  the  deer,  but  he  is  not  par- 
ticular, and  secures  the  fur  of  every  four-legged  creature 
which  may  happen  to  cross  his  path.  The  largest  number 
of  skins  that  he  ever  brought  home  at  one  time  was  six 
hundred,  among  which  were  those  of  the  bear,  the  black 
and  gray  wolf,  the  panther,  the  wild-cat,  the  fox,  the  coon, 
and  some  dozen  other  varieties.  He  computes  the  entire 
number  of  deer  that  he  has  killed  in  his  lifetime  at  four 
thousand.  When  spring  arrives,  and  he  purposes  to  return 
to  his  valley  home,  he  packs  his  furs  upon  his  old  mule, 
and,  seating  himself  upon  the  pile  of  plunder,  makes  a  bee- 
line  out  of  the  wilderness.  And  by  those  who  have  seen 
him  in  this  homeward-bound  condition,  I  am  told  that  he 


presents  one  of  the  most  curious  and  romantic  pictures 
imaginable.  While  among  the  mountains,  his  beast  subsists 
upon  whatever  it  may  happen  to  glean  in  its  forest  rambles, 
and,  when  the  first  supply  of  his  own  provisions  is  exhausted, 
he  usually  contents  himself  with  wild  game,  which  he  is 
often  compelled  to  devour  unaccompanied  with  bread  or 
salt.  His  mule  is  the  smallest  and  most  miserable  looking 
creature  of  the  kind  that  I  ever  saw,  and  glories  in  the 
singular  name  of  "  The  Devil  and  Tom  Walker."  When 
Vandever  informed  me  of  this  fact,  which  he  did  with  a 
self-satisfied  air,  I  told  him  that  the  first  portion  of  the 
mule's  name  was  more  applicable  to  himself  than  to  the 
dumb  beast ;  whereupon  he  "  grinned  horribly  a  ghastly 
smile,"  as  if  I  had  paid  him  a  compliment.  Old  Vandever 
is-  an  illiterate  man,  and  when  1  asked  him  to  give  me  his 
opinion  of  President  Polk,  he  replied :  "  I  never  seed  the 
Governor  of  this  State ;  for,  when  he  came  to  this  country 
some  years  ago,  I  was  off  on  'tother  side  of  the  ridge,  shoot- 
ing deer.  1  voted  for  the  General,  and  that's  all  I  know 
about  him."  Very  well !  and  this,  thought  I,  is  one  of  the 
freemen  of  our  land,  who  help  to  elect  our  rulers  ! 

On  questioning  my  hunter  friend  with  regard  to  some 
of  his  adventures,  he  commenced  a  rigmarole  narrative, 
which  would  have  lasted  a  whole  month  had  1  not  politely 
requested  him  to  keep  his  mouth  closed  while  I  took  a  por- 
trait of  him  in  pencil.  His  stories  all  bore  a  strong  family 
likeness,  but  were  evidently  to  be  relied  on,  and  proved 
conclusively  that  the  man  knew  not  what  it  was  to  fear. 

As  specimens  of  the  whole,  I  will  outline  a  few.  On 
one  occasion  he  came  up  to  a  large  gray  wolf,  into  whose 
head  he  discharged  a  ball.  The  animal  did  not  drop,  but 
made  its  way  into  an  adjoining  cavern  and  disappeared. 


Vandever  waited  awhile  at  the  opening,  and  as  he  could 
not  see  or  hear  his  game,  he  concluded  that  it  had  ceased 
to  breathe,  whereupon  he  fell  upon  his  hands  and  knees, 
and  entered  the  cave.  On  reaching  the  bottom,  he  found  the 
wolf  alive,  when  a  "clinch  fight"  ensued,  and  the  hunter's 
knife  completely  severed  the  heart  of  the  animal.  On  drag- 
ging out  the  dead  wolf  into  the  sunlight,  it  was  found  that 
his  low^er  jaw  had  been  broken,  which  was  probably  the  rea- 
son why-  he  had  not  succeeded  in  destroying  the  hunter. 

At  one  time,  when  he  was  out  of  ammunition,  his  dogs  fell 
upon  a  large  bear,  and  it  so  happened  that  the  latter  got 
one  of  the  former  in  his  power,  and  was  about  to  squeeze 
it  to  death.  This  was  a  sight  the  hunter  could  not  endure, 
so  he  unsheathed  his  huge  hunting-knife  and  assaulted  the 
black  monster.  The  bear  tore  off  nearly  every  rag  of  his 
clothing,  and  in  making  his  first  plunge  with  the  knife  he 
completely  cut  off  two  of  his  own  fingers  instead  of  injur- 
ing the  bear.  He  was  now  in  a  perfect  frenzy  of  pain 
and  rage,  and  in  making  another  effort  succeeded  to  his 
satisfaction,  and  gained  the  victory.  That  bear  weighed 
three  hundred  and  fifty  pounds. 

On  another  occasion  he  had  fired  at  a  large  buck  near 
the  brow  of  a  precipice  some  thirty  feet  high,  whi(ih  hangs 
over  one  of  the  pools  in  the  Tallulah  river.  On  seeing  the 
buck  drop,  he  took  it  for  granted  that  he  was  about  to  die, 
when  he  approached  the  animal  for  the  purpose  of  cutting 
its  throat.  To  his  great  surprise,  however,  the  buck  sud- 
denly sprung  to  his  feet  and  made  a  tremendous  rush  at 
the  hunter  with  a  view  of  throwing  him  off  the  ledge.  But 
what  was  more  remarkable,  the  animal  succeeded  in  its  ef- 
fort, though  not  until  Vandever  had  obtained  a  fair  hold  of 
the  buck's  antlers,  when  the  twain  performed  a  somerset 


into  the  pool  below.  The  buck  made  its  escape,  and  Van- 
dever  was  not  seriously  injured  in  any  particular.  About 
a  month  subsequent  to  that  time  he  killed  a  buck,  which 
had  a  bullet  wound  in  the  lower  part  of  its  neck,  whereupon 
he  concluded  that  he  had  finally  triumphed  over  the  animal 
which  had  given  him  the  unexpected  ducking. 

But  the  most  remarkable  escape  which  old  Vandever 
ever  experienced  happened  on  this  wise.  He  was  encamped 
upon  one  of  the  loftiest  mountains  in  Union  county.  It  was 
near  the  twilight  hour,  and  he  had  heard  the  howl  of  a  wolf. 
With  a  view  of  ascertaining  the  direction  whence  it  came, 
he  climbed  upon  an  immense  boulder-rock,  (weighing  per- 
haps fifty  tons,)  which  stood  on  the  very  brow  of  a  steep 
hill  side.  While  standing  upon  this  boulder  he  suddenly 
felt  a  swinging  sensation,  and  to  his  astonishment  he  found 
that  it  was  about  to  make  a  fearful  plunge  into  the  ravine 
half  a  mile  below  him.  As  fortune  would  have  it,  the  limb 
of  an  oak  tree  drooped  over  the  rock  ;  and,  as  the  rock  start- 
ed from  its  tottlish  foundation,  he  seized  the  limb,  and  thereby 
saved  his  life.  The  dreadful  crashing  of  the  boulder  as  it 
descended  the  mountain  side  came  to  the  hunter's  ear  while 
he  was  suspended  in  the  air,  and  by  the  time  it  had  reached 
the  bottom  he  dropped  himself  on  the  very  spot  which  had 
been  vacated  by  the  boulder.  Vandever  said  that  this  was 
the  only  time  in  his  life  when  he  had  been  really  frightened  ; 
and  he  also  added,  that  for  one  day  after  this  escape  he  did 
not  care  a  finger's  snap  for  the  finest  game  in  the  wilder- 

While  on  my  visit  to  Vandever's  cabin,  one  of  his  boys 
came  home  from  a  fishing  expedition,  and  on  examining  his 
fish  I  was  surprised  to  find  a  couple  of  shad  and  three  or 
four  striped  bass  or  rock-fish.     They  had  been  taken  in  the 


Tallulah  just  below  the  chasm,  by  means  of  a  wicker-net 
and  at  a  point  distant  from  the  ocean  at  least  two  hundred 
and  fifty  miles.  I  had  been  informed  that  the  Tallulah 
abounded  in  trout,  but  1  was  not  prepared  to  find  salt-water 
fish  in  this  remote  mountain  wilderness. 

Since  I  have  introduced  the  above  youthful  Vandever 
to  my  readers,  I  will  record  a  single  one  of  his  deeds,  which 
ought  to  give  him  a  fortune,  or  at  least  an  education.  The 
incident  occurred  when  he  was  in  his  twelfth  year.  He 
and  a  younger  brother  had  been  gathering  berries  on  a 
mountain  side,  and  were  distant  from  home  about  two 
miles.  While  carelessly  tramping  down  the  weeds  and 
bushes,  the  younger  boy  was  bitten  by  a  rattlesnake  on  the 
calf  of  his  leg.  In  a  few  moments  thereafter  the  unhappy 
child  fell  to  the  ground  in  great  pain,  and  the  pair  were  of 
course  in  unexpected  tribulation.  The  elder  boy,  having 
succeeded  in  killing  the  rattlesnake,  conceived  the  idea,  as 
the  only  alternative,  of  carrying  his  little  brother  home  up- 
on his  back.  And  this  deed  did  the  noble  fellow  accom- 
plish. For  two  long  miles  did  he  carry  his  heavy  burden, 
over  rocks  and  down  the  water-courses,  and  in  an  hour  af- 
ter he  had  reached  his  father's  cabin  the  younger  child  was 
dead ;  and  the  heroic  boy  was  in  a  state  of  insensibility 
from  the  fatigue  and  heat  which  he  had  experienced.  He 
recovered,  however,  and  is  now  apparently  in  the  enjoy- 
ment of  good  health,  though  when  I  fixed  my  admiring  eyes 
upon  him  it  seemed  to  me  that  he  was  far  from  being 
strong,  and  it  was  evident  that  a  shadow  rested  upon  his 


Trail  Mountain,  Georgia,  May,  1848. 

I  NOW  write  from  near  the  summit  of  the  highest  moun- 
tain in  Georgia.  I  obtained  my  first  view  of  this  peak  while 
in  the  village  of  Clarksville,  and  it  presented  such  a  com- 
manding appearance,  that  I  resolved  to  surmount  it,  on  my 
way  to  the  North,  although  my  experience  has  proven  that 
climbing  high  mountains  is  always  more  laborious  than  pro- 
fitable. I  came  here  on  the  back  of  a  mule,  and  my  guide 
and  companion  on  the  occasion  was  the  principal  proprietor 
of  Nacoochee  valley,  Major  Edward  Williams.  While 
ascending  the  mountain,  which  occupied  about  seven  hours, 
(from  his  residence,)  the  venerable  gentleman  expatiated  at 
considerable  length  on  the  superb  scenery  to  be  witnessed 
from  its  summit,  and  then  informed  me  that  he  had  just 
established  a  dairy  on  the  mountain,  which,  it  was  easy  to 
see,  had  become  his  hobby.  He  described  the  "ranges  "  of 
the  mountains  as  affording  an  abundance  of  the  sweetest 
food  for  cattle,  and  said  that  he  had  already  sent  to  his  dairy 
somewhere  betw^een  fifty  and  eighty  cows,  and  was  intend- 
ing soon  to  increase  the  number  to  one  hundred.  He  told 
me  that  his  dairyman  was  an  excellent  young  man  from 
Vermont,  named  Joseph  E.  Hubbard,  to  whom  he  was  in- 
debted for  the  original  idea  of  establishing  the  dairy.  While 
journeying  through  this  region  the  young  man  chanced  to 


Stop  at  the  major's  house,  and  though  they  were  perfect 
strangers,  they  conversed  upon  matters  connected  with 
farming,  and  soon  became  acquainted  ;  and  the  stranger 
having  made  known  the  fact  that  he  knew  how  to  make 
butter  and  cheese,  a  bargain  was  struck,  which  has  re- 
sulted in  the  estabhshment  already  mentioned.  The  Wil- 
liams dairy  is  said  to  be  the  only  one  in  the  entire  State  of 
Georgia,  and  it  is  worthy  of  remark,  in  this  connection, 
that  Major  Williams  (as  well  as  his  dairyman)  is  a  native 
of  New-England.  He  has  been  an  exile  from  Yankee  land 
for  upwards  of  twenty  years,  and  though  nearly  seventy 
years  of  age,  it  appears  that  his  natural  spirit  of  enterprise 
remains  in  full  vigor. 

Trail  Mountain  was  so  named  by  the  Cherokees,  from 
the  fact  that  they  once  had  a  number  of  trails  leading  to 
the  summit,  to  which  point  they  were  in  the  habit  of  as- 
cending for  the  purpose  of  discovering  the  camp-fires  of 
their  enemies  during  the  existence  of  hostilities.  It  is  the 
king  of  the  Blue  Ridge,  and  reported  to  be  five  thousand 
feet  above  the  waters  of  the  surrounding  country,  and  per- 
haps six  thousand  feet  above  the  level  of  the  ocean.  A 
carpet  of  green  grass  and  weeds  extends  to  the  very  top, 
and  as  the  trees  are  small,  as  well  as  "  few  and  far  between," 
the  lover  of  extensive  scenery  has  a  fine  opportunity  of 
gratifying  his  taste.  I  witnessed  a  sunset  from  this  great 
watch-tower  of  the  South,  and  I  know  not  that  I  was  ever 
before  more  deeply  impressed  with  the  grandeur  of  a  land- 
scape scene.  The  horizon  formed  an  unbroken  circle,  but 
1  could  distinctly  see  that  in  one  direction  alone  (across 
South  Carolina  and  part  of  Georgia)  extended  a  compara- 
tively level  country,  while  the  remaining  three-quarters  of 
the  space  around  me  appeared  to  be  a  wilderness  of  moun- 


tains.  The  grandest  display  was  towards  the  north,  and 
here  it  seemed  to  me  that  I  could  count  at  least  twenty  dis- 
tinct ranges,  fading  away  to  the  sky.  until  the  more  remote 
range  melted  into  a  monotonous  line.  No  cities  or  towns 
came  within  the  limit  of  my  vision  ;  no,  nor  even  an  occa- 
sional wreath  of  smoke,  to  remind  me  that  human  hearts 
were  beating  in  the  unnumbered  valleys.  A  crimson  hue 
covered  the  sky,  but  it  was  without  a  cloud  to  cheer  the 
prospect,  and  the  solemn  shadow  which  rested  upon  the 
mountains  was  too  deep  to  partake  of  a  single  hue  from  the 
departing  sun.  Grandeur  and  gloom,  like  twin  spirits, 
seemed  to  have  subdued  the  world,  causing  the  pulse  of  na- 
ture to  cease  its  accustomed  throb.  "  At  one  stride  came 
the  dark,"  and,  as  there  was  no  moon,  I  retreated  from  the 
peak  with  pleasure,  and  sought  the  rude  cabin,  where  I  was 
to  spend  the  night.  While  doing  this,  the  distant  howl  of 
a  wolf  came  to  my  ear,  borne  upward  on  the  quiet  air  from 
one  of  the  deep  ravines  leading  to  the  base  of  the  mountain. 

As  I  was  the  guest  of  my  friends  Williams  and  Hubbard, 
I  whiled  away  the  evening  in  their  society,  asking  and  an- 
swering a  thousand  questions.  Among  the  matters  touch- 
ed upon  in  our  conversation  was  a  certain  mysterious 
"  water-spout,"  of  which  I  had  heard  a  great  deal  among 
the  people  in  my  journeying,  and  which  was  said  to  have 
fallen  upon  Trail  Mountain.  I  again  inquired  into  the  par- 
ticulars, and  Major  Williams  replied  as  follows : 

"  This  water-spout  story  has  always  been  a  great  both- 
eration to  me.  The  circumstance  occurred  several  years 
ago.  A  number  of  hunters  were  spending  the  night  in  the 
very  ravine  where  this  shanty  now  stands,  when,  about 
midnight,  they  heard  a  tremendous  roaring  in  the  air,  and 
a  large  torrent  of  water  fell  upon  their  camp  and  swept  it, 


with  all  its  effects  and  its  inmates,  about  a  dozen  yards  from 
the  spot  where  they  had  planted  their  poles.  There  were 
three  hunters,  and  one  of  them  was  severely  injured  on  the 
head  by  the  water,  and  all  of  them  completely  drenched. 
They  were  of  course  much  alarmed  at  the  event,  and  con- 
cluded that  a  spring  farther  up  the  mountain  had  probably 
broken  away ;  but  when  morning  came  they  could  find  no 
evidences  of  a  spring,  and  every  where  above  their  camp- 
ing place  the  ground  was  perfectly  dry,  while  on  the  low- 
er side  it  was  completely  saturated.  They  were  now  per- 
plexed to  a  marvellous  degree,  and  returned  to  the  lower 
country  impressed  with  the  idea  that  a  water-spout  had 
burst  over  their  heads.'' 

I  of  course  attempted  no  explanation  of  this  phenome- 
non, but  Mr.  Hubbard  gave  it  as  his  opinion  that  if  the 
affair  actually  did  occur,  it  originated  from  a  whirlwind, 
which  might  have  taken  up  the  water  from  some  neighbor- 
ing river,  and  dashed  it  by  the  merest  accident  upon  the 
poor  hunters.  But  this  reasoning  seemed  to  me  like  getting 
"  out  of  the  frying  pan  into  the  fire  ;"  whereupon  I  conclud- 
ed to  "  tell  the  tale  as  'twas  told  to  me,"  for  the  especial 
benefit  of  Professor  Espy. 

But  to  return  to  the  dairy,  which  is  unquestionably  the 
chief  attraction  (though  far  from  being  a  romantic  one) 
connected  with  Trail  Mountain.  Heretofore  a  cheese 
establishment  has  been  associated  in  my  mind  with  broad 
meadow  lands,  spacious  and  well-furnished  out-houses,  and 
a  convenient  market.  But  here  we  have  a 'dairy  on  the 
top  of  a  mountain,  distant  from  the  first  farm-house  some 
fifteen  miles,  and  inaccessible  by  any  conveyance  but  that 
of  a  mule  or  well-trained  horse.  The  bells  of  more  than 
half  a  hundred  cows  are  echoing  along  the  mountain  side  ; 


and,  instead  of  clover,  they  are  feeding  upon  the  luxuriant 
weed  of  the  wilderness ;  instead  of  cool  cellars,  we  have 
here  a  hundred  tin  pans  arranged  upon  tables  in  a  log 
cabin,  into  which  a  cool  spring  pours  its  refreshing  trea- 
sure ;  instead  of  a  tidy  and  matronly  housewife  to  super- 
intend the  turning  of  the  curd,  we  have  an  enterprising 
young  Yankee,  a  veritable  Green  Mountain  boy ;  and  in- 
stead of  pretty  milkmaids,  the  inferiors  of  this  establish- 
ment are  huge  negroes,  and  all  of  the  masculine  gender. 
And  this  is  the  establishment  which  supplies  the  people  of 
Georgia  with  cheese,  and  the  material  out  of  which  the 
scientific  caterer  manufactures  the  palatable  Welsh  Rabbit. 


Murphy,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 

The  distance  from  Hubbard's  Cabin,  on  Trail  Moun- 
tain, to  the  Owassa  river,  in  a  direct  line,  is  eight  miles, 
but  by  the  ordinary  mule-route  it  is  thirteen.  In  coming 
to  this  river  I  took  the  direct  route,  albeit  my  only  guide 
was  an  ancient  Indian  trail.  My  friend  Hubbard  doubted 
whether  I  could  make  the  trip  alone,  but  I  was  anxious  to 
save  time  and  labor,  so  I  determined  on  trying  the  exper- 
iment. I  shouldered  my  knapsack  and  started  immedi- 
ately after  an  early  breakfast,  and  for  a  distance  of  two 
miles  every  thing  turned  out  to  my  entire  satisfaction.  1 
was  now  standing  upon  the  extreme  summit  of  the  Blue 
Ridge,  and  within  a  stone's  throw  of  two  springs  which 
empty  their  several  waters  into  the  Gulf  of  Mexico  and  the 
Ohio  river.  While  stopping  here  to  obtain  a  little  breath, 
I  discovered  a  large  spot  of  bare  earth,  which  I  took  to  be 
a  deer  yard,  and  directly  across  the  middle  of  it  the  fresh 
tracks  of  a  large  wolf.  I  had  no  gun  with  me,  and  this  dis- 
covery made  me  a  little  nervous,  which  resulted,  as  I  pro- 
ceeded on  my  journey,  in  my  losing  the  trail  upon  which 
I  had  started.  I  soon  came  to  a  brook,  however,  which 
rushed  down  an  immense  ravine  at  an  angle  of  forty-five 
degrees,  and  I  continued  my  way  feeling  quite  secure.  My 
course  lay  down,  down,  down,  and  then,  as  I  wandered 


from  the  brook,  it  was  up,  up,  up.  At  the  rate  that  I  trav- 
elled I  knew  that  I  ought  to  reach  my  place  of  destination 
in  at  at  least  one  hour,  but  four  hours  elapsed  and  I  reluc- 
tantly came  to  the  conclusion  that  I  was  most  decidedly 
lost,  and  that,  too,  among  what  I  fancied  to  be  the  wildest 
and  most  lonely  mountains  on  the  face  of  the  earth.  Then 
came  the  thought  of  spending  the  night  in  the  wilderness, 
alone  and  unprotected,  to  be  destroyed  by  the  wild  animals 
or  to  be  starved  to  death.  I  resolved,  however,  to  continue 
along  the  brook,  knowing  that  it  must  come  out  "  some- 
where ;"  and,  as  [  was  by  this  time  in  a  mOst  painful  state 
of  excitement,  I  clambered  up  the  cliffs  and  ran  down  the 
hills  at  what  now  appears  to  me  to  have  been  a  fearful  rate. 
The  sun  was  excessively  hot,  and  at  every  rivulet  that  I 
crossed  I  stopped  to  slake  my  thirst.  The  brook  was  con- 
stantly making  a  new  turn,  and  leaping  over  ledges  of 
rocks  more  than  a  hundred  feet  high,  and  every  new  bluff 
that  I  saw  (and  there  seemed  to  be  no  end  to  them)  began, 
to  shoot  a  pang  to  my  bewildered  brain.  At  one  time  I 
startled  a  herd  of  deer  from  a  cool  ravine,  where  they  were 
spending  the  noontide  hours ;  and  on  one  occasion  I  was 
within  a  single  foot  of  stepping  on  a  rattlesnake,  and  when  I 
heard  his  fearful  rattle  I  made  a  leap  which  would  have 
astonished  even  Sands,  Lent  &  Co.,  or  any  other  circus 
magicians.  It  was  now  the  middle  of  the  afternoon,  and 
my  blood  seemed  to  have  reached  the  temperature  of  boil- 
ing heat;  my  heart  began  to  palpitate,  and  I  came  to  the 
conclusion  that  the  critics  would  never  again  have  an  op- 
portunity of  doubting  my  adventures  in  the  wilderness. 
Just  in  the  nick  of  time,  however,  I  heard  the  howling 
music  of  a  pack  of  hounds,  and  in  a  few  moments  a  beauti- 
ful doe  and  some  half  a  dozen  dogs  shot  across  my  patii 


like  a  "  rushing  mighty  wind.''     This  little  incident  led  me 
to  believe  that  I   was  not  very  far  from  a  settlement,  and 
had  a  tendency  to  revive  my  spirits.     The  result  was  that 
I  reached  the  cottage  of  an  old  gentleman  named  Riley,  in 
the  valley  of  Owassa,  just   as  the  sun  was  setting,  where  1 
was  treated  with  the  utmost  kindness  by  his  consort — hav- 
ing travelled  at  least  twenty  miles  on   account  of  my  mis- 
hap.    I  had  lost  my  appetite,  but   was  persuaded  to  drink 
two  cups  of  coffee  and  then  retire  to  bed.     I   slept  until 
daybreak,  without   being  visited  by  an  unpleasant   dream, 
and  arose  on  the  following  morning  a  new  man.     On  the 
following  day  I  travelled  down   the  Owassa  valley  a  dis- 
tance of  thirty  miles,  until  I  reached  the  very  pretty  place 
where  I  am  now  tarrying.     The  Cherokee  word  Owassa 
signifies  the  main   jnver,  or  the  largest  of  the  tributaries  : 
and   the   paraphrase  of  this  name   into  Hioivassee  by  the 
map-makers  is  only  a  ridiculous  blunder.     So  I  have  been 
informed,  at  any  rate,  by  one  of  the  oldest  Cherokees  now 
living.     The  Owassa  is  a  tributary  of  the  noble  Tennessee, 
and  is  as  clear,  beautiful,  rapid  and  picturesque  a  mountain 
river  as  I  have  ever  seen.     At  Wiley's  cottage  it  is  per- 
haps one  hundred  feet  wide,  and  at  this  point  it  is  not  far 
from  one  hundred  and  fifty  yards.     It  is  quite  circuitous 
in  its  course,  and  the  vallej^  through  which  it  runs  is  nar- 
row, but  very  fertile  and  pretty  well  cultivated.     The  people 
live  almost  exclusively  in  log  cabins,  and  appear  to  be  intelli- 
gent and  moral,  though  apparently  destitute  of  all  enterprise. 
The  only  novelty  that  1  noticed  on  the  road  to  this  place 
was  the  spot  known  as  Fo7^t  Emhree.     The  only  evidences 
that  there  ever  was  a  fortification  here   are   a  breastwork 
of  timber,  a  lot  of  demolished  pickets,  and  two  or  three 
block-houses,  which  are  now  in  a  dilapidated  condition. 


The  site  is  a  commanding  one,  and  takes  in  some  of  the 
grandest  mountain  outlines  that  I  have  yet  seen.  This 
fort,  so  called,  was  made  by  the  General  Government  for 
the  purpose  of  herding  the  poor  Cherokees  previous  to  their 
final  banishment  into  exile — a  most  humane  and  christian- 
like work,  indeed !  How  reluctant  the  Indians  were  to 
leave  this  beautiful  land  may  be  shown  by  the  fact,  that  a 
number  of  women  destroyed  themselves  within  this  very 
fort  rather  than  be  driven  beyond  the  Mississippi.  And  a 
gentleman  who  saw  the  Indians,  when  they  were  removed, 
tells  me  that  they  were  actually  driven  along  the  road  like 
a  herd  of  wild  and  unruly  animals,  a  number  of  them  hav- 
ing been  shot  down  in  the  vicinity  of  this  place.  All  these 
things  may  have  been  published,  but  I  have  never  seen 
them  in  print ;  and  I  now  put  them  in  print  with  the  view 
of  shaming  our  heartless  and  cruel  Government  for  its  un- 
natural conduct  in  times  past.  The  Cherokees  were  a 
nation  of  mountaineers,  and,  had  a  wise  policy  been  pur- 
sued with  regard  to  them,  they  might  now  be  chasing  the 
deer  upon  these  mountains,  while  all  the  valleys  of  the  land 
might  have  been  in  a  state  of  cultivation,  even  as  they  are 
now.  Not  only  would  they  have  had  the  happiness  of 
hunting  their  favorite  game  upon  their  native  hills,  but  they 
might  have  been  educated  with  more  real  satisfaction  to 
themselves  than  they  can  be  in  the  Far  West.  In  proof  of 
the  opinion  that  they  might  have  lived  here  in  honor  and 
comfort,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  the  few  Cherokees  who 
were  permitted  to  remain  in  Carolina,  are  now  considered 
the  most  polite  and  inoffensive  of  the  entire  population  ; 
and  the  United  States  District  Attorney  residing  in  Chero- 
kee county  informs  me,  that  of  five  hundred  individuals 
whom  he  has   had  to  prosecute  within  the  last  five  years, 


only  one  of  them  was  an  Indian,  and  he  was  led  into  his 
difficulty  by  a  drunken  white  man.  But  this  is  a  theme 
that  I  could  write  upon  for  days,  so  I  will  turn  to  some- 
thing more  germain  to  my  present  purpose. 

In  coming  down  the  valley  of  Owassa  I  met  with  a 
number  of  incidents  which  I  fancy  worth  mentioning.  For 
example,  in  passing  along  a  certain  road  in  Union  county, 
Georgia,  I  approached  a  ricketty  log  cabin,  and  was  sur- 
prised to  see  the  family  and  all  the  dogs  vacate  the  premises, 
as  if  I  had  been  a  personified  plague.  I  was  subsequently 
informed  that  this  was  a  common  habit  with  the  more  bar- 
barous people  of  this  region  when  they  see  a  stranger  pass- 
ing along  the  road. 

Among  the  characteristic  travelling  establishments  that 
I  met  in  the  above  country,  was  the  following :  a  very 
small  covered  wagon,  (drawn  by  one  mule  and  one  deformed 
horse,)  which  was  laden  with  corn-husks,  a  few  bedclothes, 
and  several  rude  cooking  utensils.  Behind  this  team 
marched  a  man  and  his  wife,  five  boys,  and  eight  girls,  and 
in  their  rear  the  skeleton  of  a  cow  and  four  hungry-look- 
ing dogs.  They  had  been  farming  in  Union  county,  but 
were  now  on  their  way  into  Habersham  county  in  search 
of  a  new  location.  The  youngest  daughter  belonging  to 
this  family,  as  I  casually  found  out  by  giving  her  a  small 
piece  of  money,  was   Dorcas  Ann  Eliza  Jane   Charlotte 

.     On  hearing  this  startling  information  I  could  not 

wonder  that  the  family  were  poor,  and  had  a  thorny  road 
to  pursue  through  life. 

But  the  most  unique  incident  that  I  picked  up  on  the 
day  in  question  may  be  narrated  as  follows  :  I  was  quietly 
jogging  along  the  road,  when  I  was  startled  by  the  drop- 
ping of  a  snake  from  a  small  tree.     I  stopped  to  see  what 


was  the  matter,  and  discovered  it  to  be  a  black  snake  or 
racer,  and  that  he  had  in  his  mouth  the  tail  end  of  a  scar- 
let lizard  about  five  inches  long.  It  wsls  evident  the  snake 
had  some  difficulty  in  swallov^^ing  the  precious  morsel,  and 
while  he  seemed  to  be  preparing  for  another  effort,  I  saw 
the  lizard  twist  its  body  and  bite  the  snake  directly  on  the 
back  of  the  head,  which  caused  the  latter  to  loosen  his 
hold.  Again  did  I  see  the  snake  attack  the  lizard,  and  a 
second  time  did  the  lizard  bite  the  snake,  whereupon  the 
serpent  gave  up  the  fight,  and,  while  I  was  hunting  for  a 
stick  to  kill  the  serpent,  both  of  the  reptiles  made  their  es- 

The  little  village  of  Murphy,  whence  I  date  this  letter, 
lies  at  the  junction  of  the  Owassa  and  Valley  rivers,  and 
in  point  of  location  is  one  of  the  prettiest  places  in  the 
world.  Its  Indian  name  was  Klausuna,  or  the  Large 
Turtle.  It  was  so  called,  says  a  Cherokee  legend,  on  ac- 
count of  its  being  the  sunning  place  of  an  immense  turtle 
which  lived  in  its  vicinity  in  ancient  times.  The  turtle 
was  particularly  famous  for  its  repelling  power,  having 
been  known  not  to  be  at  all  injured  by  a  stroke  of  light- 
ning. Nothing  on  earth  had  power  to  annihilate  the  crea- 
ture ;  but,  on  account  of  the  many  attempts  made  to  take 
its  life,  when  it  was  known  to  be  a  harmless  and  inoffen- 
sive creature,  it  became  disgusted  with  this  world,  and  bur- 
rowed its  way  into  the  middle  of  the  earth,  where  it  now 
lives  in  peace. 

In  connection  with  this  legend,  I  may  here  mention 
what  must  be  considered  a  remarkable  fact  in  geology. 
Running  directly  across  the  village  of  Murphy  is  a  belt  of 
marble,  composed  of  the  black,  gray,  pure  white  and  flesh- 
colored  varieties,  which  belt  also  crosses  the  Owassa  river. 


Just  above  this  marble  causeway  the  Owassa,  for  a  space 
of  perhaps  two  hundred  feet,  is  said  to  be  over  one  hundred 
feet  deep,  and  at  one  point,  in  fact,  a  bottom  has  never 
been  found.  All  this  is  simple  truth,  but  I  have  heard  the 
opinion  expressed  that  there  is  a  subterranean  communica- 
tion between  this  immense  hole  in  Owassa  and  the  river 
Notely,  which  is  some  two  miles  distant.  The  testimony 
adduced  in  proof  of  this  theory  is,  that  a  certain  log  was 
once  marked  on  the  Notely,  which  log  was  subsequently 
found  floating  in  the  pool  of  the  Deep  Hole  in  the  Owassa, 


Franklin,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 

The  distance  from  Murphy  to  this  place  is  reported  to 
be  fifty  miles.  For  twenty  miles  the  road  runs  in  full  view 
of  Valley  river,  which  is  worthy  in  every  particular  of  the 
stream  into  which  it  empties,  the  Owassa.  It  is  a  remark- 
bly  cold  and  translucent  stream,  and  looks  as  if  it  ought  to 
contain  trout,  but  I  am  certain  that  it  does  not.  On  in- 
quiring of  a  homespun  angler  what  fish  the  river  did  pro- 
duce, he  replied  :  "  Salmon,  black  trout,  red  horse,  hog-fish, 
suckers  and  cat-fish."  I  took  the  liberty  of  doubting  the 
gentleman's  word,  and  subsequently  found  out  that  the  peo- 
ple of  this  section  of  country  call  the  legitimate  pickerel  the 
"  salmon,"  the  black  bass  the  "  black  trout,"  the  mullet  the 
"red  horse,"  and  a  deformed  sucker  the  "hog-fish."  And 
now,  while  I  think  of  it,  I  would  intimate  to  my  friends  re- 
siding on  the  Ohio  (to  which  glorious  river  all  the  streams 
of  this  region  pay  tribute)  that  their  salmon  is  none  other 
than  the  genuine  pickerel  of  the  North  and  South,  their 
white  perch  only  the  sheep's  head  of  the  great  lakes,  and 
their  black  perch  is  but  another  name  for  the  black  or  Os- 
wego bass.     So  much  for  a  piscatorial  correction. 

The  only  picture  which  attracted  my  particular  atten- 
tion in  passing  up  the  fertile  but  generally  neglected  bottom 
lands  of  Valley  river,  was  a  farm  of  twenty-five  hundred 


acres,  one  thousand  acres  being  as  level  as  a  floor  and  high- 
ly cultivated.  The  soil  seemed  exceedingly  rich,  and  it 
was  evident  yielded  a  considerable  income  to  its  possessor. 
I  heard,  in  fact,  that  the  proprietor  had  been  offered  twenty- 
five  thousand  dollars  for  this  farm.  And  in  what  kind  of  a 
house  does  my  reader  imagine  this  wealthy  man  resided  ? 
In  a  miserable  log  hovel,  a  decayed  and  windowless  one, 
which  a  respectable  member  of  the  swine  family  would 
hardly  deign  to  occupy.  Instances  something  like  to  this 
had  already  come  to  my  knowledge,  and  caused  me  to  won- 
der at  the  inconsistency  and  apparent  want  of  common 
sense  manifested  by  some  of  the  farmers  of  this  country,  but 
this  instance  capped  the  climax.  But  again,  the  individual 
alluded  to  is  a  wliite  man,  and  prides  himself  upon  being 
more  intelligent  and  acute  than  his  neighbors  ;  and  yet  one 
of  his  neighbors  is  an  Indian  woman,  who  raises  only  about 
five  thousand  bushels  of  potatoes  per  annum,  but  occupies 
a  comfortable  dwelling  and  lives  like  a  rational  being. 

After  leaving  the  above  valley,  my  course  lay  over  two 
distinct  spurs  of  the  Alleghanies,  which  are  divided  by  the 
river  Nan-ti-ha-lah,  and  consequently  called  the  Nan-ti-ha- 
lah  Mountains.  In  ascending  the  western  ridge,  I  noticed 
that  at  the  foot  and  midway  up  the  pass  the  trees  were  all 
arrayed  in  their  summer  verdure,  and  among  the  forest  trees 
were  many  chestnut  and  poplar  specimens,  which  were  at 
least  seven  or  eight  feet  in  diameter ;  while  the  more  eleva- 
ted portions  of  the  ridge  were  covered  with  scrub  and 
white  oak,  which  were  entirely  destitute  of  foliage  and  not 
even  in  the  budding  condition.  No  regular  cliffs  frowned 
upon  me  as  1  passed  along,  but  the  mountains  on  either  side 
were  almost  perpendicular,  and  in  one  or  two  places  were 
at  least  twenty-five  hundred  feet  high.     In  the  side  of  the 


highest  of  these  mountains,  I  was  informed,  is  a  deep  fissure 
or  cave,  which  extends  to  the  summit  of  the  hill,  where  the 
outlet  is  quite  small.  When  the  wind  is  blowing  from  the 
northwest  it  passes  entirely  through  this  long  and  mysteri- 
ous cavern,  and  when  issuing  from  the  top  comes  with  such 
force  as  to  throw  out  all  the  smaller  stones  which  one  may 
happen  to  drop  therein.  In  descending  this  spur,  the  road 
passes  directly  along  the  margin  of  the  most  gloomy  thicket 
imaginable.  It  is  about  a  mile  wide  and  somewhat  over 
three  miles  in  length.  It  is  rank  with  vegetation,  and  the 
principal  trees  are  laurel  and  hemlock.  Even  at  noonday 
it  is  impossible  to  look  into  it  more  than  a  half  a  dozen 
yards,  and  then  you  but  peer  into  the  opening  of  leafy  caves 
and  grottoes  which  are  perpetually  cool  and  very  desolate. 
It  is  said  to  abound  in  the  more  ferocious  of  wild  animals, 
and  no  white  man  is  yet  known  to  have  mustered  courage 
enough  to  explore  the  jungle.  During  the  existence  of  the 
Cherokee  difficulties,  the  Indians  were  in  the  habit  of  en- 
camping on  many  places  on  its  margin  for  the  purpose  of 
easily  eluding  their  pursuers  ;  and  it  is  reported  of  one  In- 
dian hunter,  who  once  entered  the  thicket,  that  he  never 
returned,  having,  as  is  supposed,  been  overpowered  by  some 
wild  beast.  It  was  upon  the  margin  of  this  horrible  place, 
too,  that  the  following  incident  occurred.  An  Indian  wo- 
man once  happened  to  be  travelling  down  the  mountain, 
unaccompanied  by  her  husband,  but  with  three  young  chil- 
dren, two  little  girls  and  a  papoose.  In  an  unexpected 
moment  an  enraged  panther  crossed  their  trail,  and  while 
it  fell  upon  and  destroyed  the  mother  and  one  child,  the 
elder  girl  ran  for  her  life,  carrying  the  infant  on  her  back. 
The  little  heroine  had  not  gone  over  a  half  a  mile  with  her 
burden  before  the  panther  caught  up  with  her,  and  drag- 


ged  the  infant  from  her  grasp ;  and  while  the  savage  crea- 
ture was  destroying  this  third  victim,  the  httle  girl  made 
her  escape  to  a  neighboring  encampment. 

The  river  Nan-ti-ha-lah,  or  the  Woman's  Bosom,  was 
so  named  on  account  of  its  undulating  and  narrow  valley, 
and  its  own  intrinsic  purity  and  loveliness.  Upon  this 
river  is  situated  a  rude  but  comfortable  cabin,  which  is 
the  only  one  the  traveller  meets  with  in  going  a  distance 
of  twenty  miles.  On  first  approaching  this  cabin,  I  noticed 
a  couple  of  sweet  little  girls  playing  on  the  greensward  be- 
fore the  door  with  a  beautiful  fawn,  which  was  as  tame  as 
a  lamb.  This  group,  taken  in  connection  with  the  wild- 
ness  of  the  surrounding  scene,  gave  me  a  most  delightful 
feeling,  the  contrast  was  so  strange  and  unexpected.  The 
proprietor  of  the  cabin  owns  about  five  thousand  acres  of 
land  in  this  wilderness  region,  and  is  by  profession  a  graz- 
ing farmer.  He  raises  a  goodly  number  of  cattle  as  well 
as  horses  and  mules,  and  his  principal  markets  for  them 
are  Charleston  and  Savannah,  to  which  cities  he  performs 
a  pilgrimage  in  the  autumn  of  every  year.  He  is  one  of 
the  "  oldest  inhabitants"  of  the  region,  and  as  I  spent  one 
night  under  his  roof,  I  took  occasion  to  draw  from  him  a 
few  anecdotes  connected  with  his  own  experience.  On 
questioning  him  with  regard  to  the  true  character  of  the 
panther,  he  replied  as  follows  :  "  I  don't  know  much  about 
this  animal,  but  I  have  had  one  chance  to  study  their  nature 
which  I  can't  forget.  It  was  a  very  dark  night,  and  I  was 
belated  on  the  western  ridge,  near  the  Big  Laurel  ravine. 
I  was  jogging  along  at  a  slow  rate,  when  my  horse  made  a 
terrible  leap  aside,  and  I  saw  directly  in  front  of  me  one  of 
the  biggest  of  panthers.  He  soon  uttered  a  shriek  or  scream 
(which  sounded  like  a  woman  in  distress)  and  got  out  of 


the  way,  so  that  I  could  pass  along.  Every  bone  in  my 
horse's  body  trembled  with  fear,  and  I  can  tell  you  that  my 
own  feelings  were  pretty  squally.  On  my  way  was  I  still 
jogging,  when  the  panther  again  made  his  appearance,  just 
as  he  had  before,  and  gave  another  of  his  infernal  yells. 
I  had  no  weapon  with  me,  and  I  now  thought  I  was  a  gone 
case.  Again  did  the  animal  disappear,  and  again  did  I  con- 
tinue on  my  journey.  I  had  not  gone  more  than  a  hundred 
yards  before  I  saw,  on  the  upper  side  of  the  road,  what 
looked  like  a  couple  of  balls  of  fire,  and  just  as  I  endeavored 
to  urge  my  horse  a  little  faster,  another  dreadful  scream 
rang  far  down  the  valley.  But,  to  make  a  long  story  short, 
this  animal  followed  me  until  I  got  within  a  half  a  mile  of 
my  house,  and,  though  he  ran  around  me  at  least  a  dozen 
times,  and  uttered  more  than  a  dozen  screams,  he  never 
touched  me,  and  I  got  safely  home.  If  you  can  gather  any 
information  from  this  adventure  you  are  welcome  to  it ; 
but  all  I  know  about  the  animal  is  this,  that  I  hate  him  as 
I  do  the  devil." 

My  host  informed  me  that  he  was  one  of  the  men  ap- 
pointed by  the  Government  to  assess  the  property  of  the 
Cherokees  at  the  time  of  their  removal,  and  was  subse- 
quently employed  to  aid  in  their  coerced  removal.  With 
a  view  of  pacifying  the  Indians,  it  had  been  stipulated  that 
the  cabin  and  improvements  of  each  Indian  should  be  as- 
sessed, and  an  equivalent  in  money  should  be  paid  into 
his  hands  for  said  property ;  and  a  part  of  the  nation,  it 
will  be  remembered,  including  the  head  chief,  were  opposed 
to  the  treaty  of  banishment.  In  fulfiUing  his  duties  as  a 
Government  officer,  my  informant  endured  many  hardships, 
subjected  himself  to  much  peril,  and  met  with  many  touch- 
ing as  well  as  some  ridiculous  scenes.     In  the  course  of  a 


few  months  he  visited,  in  connection  with  his  assistant  and 
interpreter,  every  cabin  in  the  counties  of  Cherokee  and 
Macon  ;  and,  from  the  numerous  adventures  which  he  re- 
lated to  me,  I  will  record  two  or  three. 

"  At  one  time,"  said  my  friend,  "  we  arrived  at  a  cabin 
were  we  knew  resided,  '  solitary  and  alone,'  an  old  bache- 
lor Indian.  It  was  night,  and  very  cold  and  stormy.  As 
we  were  tying  our  horses  the  Indian  heard  us,  and,  know- 
ing our  business,  immediately  arose  and  fastened  his  door 
that  we  should  not  get  in.  We  remonstrated  from  with- 
out, and  told  him  we  were  almost  frozen,  and  he  must  ad- 
mit us,  but  never  a  word  would  he  answer ;  and  this  was 
repeated  several  times.  We  finally  got  mad  and  knocked 
down  the  door  and  entered.  The  Indian  was  lying  upon  a 
bench  before  the  fire,  and  by  his  side  were  four  dogs.  We 
asked  him  a  number  of  questions,  but  still  did  he  keep  si- 
lent. We  had  by  this  time  made  up  our  minds  to  '  take 
care  of  number  one,'  and  proceeded  to  cook  our  bacon.  In 
doing  this  we  had  great  difficulty  on  account  of  the  dogs, 
which  w^ere  almost  starved  to  death,  and  were  constantly 
grabbing  up  our  victuals  from  the  coals.  They  were  the 
ugliest  animals  that  I  ever  saw,  and  did  not  care  a  pin  for 
the  heavy  licks  that  we  gave  them.  And  the  only  way 
we  could  get  along  was  for  the  interpreter  to  cook  the 
meat,  while  my  assistant  and  myself  seated  ourselves  at  the 
two  corners  of  the  hearth,  and  as  the  dogs  jumped  over 
the  body  of  the  Indian,  (who  was  yet  lying  on  his  bench,) 
we  would  grab  them  by  the  neck  and  tail  and  pitch  them 
across  the  room.  So  this  interesting  business  continued 
until  the  meat  was  cooked.  I  then  took  a  slice,  put  it  on  a 
piece  of  bread,  and  giving  it  to  the  Indian,  said  to  him  : 
'  Now  don't  be  a  fool,  take  this  meat  and  be  good  friends, 


for  we  don't  want  to  injure  you.'  Whereupon  he  got  over 
his  resentment,  took  the  meat,  and  began  talking  so  that 
we  could  not  stop  him." 

But  another  incident  related  to  me  was  truly  affecting, 
and  occurred  at  the  time  of  removal.  "  There  was  an 
old  Indian,"  continued  my  host,  "  named  Euchellah,  who 
had  thrown  out  the  idea  that  he  was  a  strong  man,  and 
never  would  submit  to  leave  his  cabin  willingly  :  those  who 
wanted  him  to  go  must  take  him  by  force.  It  was  in  the 
forenoon,  and  a  whole  posse  of  officers  entered  his  cabin, 
and  after  a  pretty  severe  scuffle  we  succeeded  in  fasten- 
ing the  -old  fellow's  arms  and  hands  with  a  rope.  He  now 
saw  that  he  must  go,  and  told  his  wife  to  get  ready,  and 
she  got  ready  hy  going  out  to  feed  her  pig  and  the  chickens, 
just  as  if  she  was  coming  back  in  a  few  hours.  We  then 
started  with  our  prisoners,  and  just  as  we  were  crossing  a 
hill  which  overlooked  the  Indian's  cabin,  he  suddenly  wheel- 
ed about,  and  as  his  eyes  fell  upon  his  little  garden  and  his 
hut,  he  burst  into  tears,  and  I  thought  the  man's  heart 
would  break.  And  now  when  people  tell  me  that  the  In- 
dian never  weeps,  I  tell  them  it's  no  such  thing  ;  but,  it  was 
true,  Euchellah  had  some  reason  to  feel  bad  ;  for  he  had 
four  children  buried  near  his  cabin,  and  had  lived  there  for 
fifty  years.  We  continued  on  our  way  to  the  West,  but  in 
two  days  our  Indian  made  his  escape  with  his  wife.  We 
hunted  for  them  among  the  mountains,  and  though  we  re- 
captured Euchellah,  we  never  could  find  his  wife,  and  after- 
wards heard  that  she  starved  to  death  on  a  distant  moun- 
tain. The  Indian  was  now  guarded  by  four  soldiers;  but, 
while  crossing  a  certain  gap,  he  suddenly  rose  upon  his 
keepers  and  killed  three  of  them,  while  the  other  officer,  as 
well  as  himself,  escaped.     The  Indian  was  again  taken  pris- 


oner,  tried  by  court  martial,  and  sentenced  to  he  executed. 
When  told  that  he  was  to  be  shot  down  by  a  rifle  ball,  he 
manifested  no  fear,  and,  up  to  the  moment  that  he  was  shot 
down,  not  a  tear  made  its  appearance  in  his  eye.  He  could 
weep  on  leaving  his  home,  but  he  would  not  w^eep  when  he 
came  to  die.  And  the  old  man  was  buried  on  the  road 
side,  half  way  between  this  place  and  Murphy." 

"  But  another  removal  incident  that  I  remember,"  con- 
tinued my  landlord,  "  was  to  this  effect.  It  was  another 
old  Indian  who  had  a  large  family  and  was  religious.  When 
we  called  to  take  him,  he  said  he  only  wanted  to  ask  one 
favor,  which  was,  that  we  would  let  him  have  odie  more 
prayer  with  his  wife  and  children  in  his  old  cabin.  We 
of  course  granted  the  request,  and  when  he  was  through 
out  came  the  old  fellow  and  said  that  he  was  ready.  But 
just  as  we  were  leaving  the  little  clearing,  the  Indian  call- 
ed his  wife  and  children  to  his  side,  and  talked  to  them  in 
the  most  poetical  and  afiecting  manner  about  their  meager 
but  much-loved  possession,  which  they  were  about  to  leave 
for  ever.  He  then  took  the  lead  of  our  procession,  and 
without  uttering  a  word,  marched  onward  with  a  firm  step. 
We  never  heard  this  man's  voice  again  until  we  had  passed 
beyond  the  Mississippi." 

The  scenery  lying  between  the  Nan-ti-ha-lah  and  this 
place  is  of  the  wildest  character.  From  the  summit  of  the 
pass  and  along  the  road  as  you  descend  to  the  eastward,  a 
number  of  very  imposing  scenes  present  themselves,  but 
chief  among  all  the  hills  rises  the  rugged  peak  of  Bald 
Mountain.  The  prospect  from  this  point  is  similar  to  that 
which  I  have  described  from  Trail  Mountain,  but  the  legend 
which  commemorates  the  place  is  quite  interesting,  and  ac- 
counts for  the  baldness  of  the  mountain's  top,  which  was 


formerly  covered  with  a  dense  forest.     The  Cherokees  re- 
late that  there  once  existed  among  those  mountains  a  very- 
large  bird,  which  resembled  in  appearance  the  green-wing- 
ed hornet,  and  this  creature  was  in  the  habit  of  carrying  off 
the  younger  children  of  the  nation  who  happened  to  wander 
into  the  woods.     Very  many  children  had  mysteriously  dis- 
appeared in  this  manner,  and  the  entire  people  declared  a 
warfare  against  the  monster.     A  variety  of  means  were 
employed  for  his  destruction,  but  without  success.     In  pro- 
cess of  time  it  was  determined  that  the  wise  men  (or  medi- 
cine men)  of  the  nation  should  try  their  skill  in  the  business. 
They  met  in  council  and  agreed  that  each  one  should  sta- 
tion himself  on  the  summit  of  a  mountain,  and  that,  when  the 
creature  was  discovered,  the  man  who  made  the  discovery 
should  utter  a  loud  halloo,  which  shout  should  be  taken  up 
by  his  neighbor  on  the  next  mountain,  and  so  continued 
to  the  end  of  the  line,  that  all  the  men  might  have  a  shot 
at  the  strange  bird.     This  experiment  was  tried  and  result- 
ed in  finding  out  the  hiding-place  of  the  monster,  which  was 
a  deep  cavern  on  the  eastern  side  of  the  Blue  Ridge  and  at 
the  fountain-head  of  the  river  Too-ge-lah.     On  arriving  at 
this  place,  they  found  the   entrance  to  the  cavern  entirely 
inaccessible  by  mortal  feet,  and   they  therefore  prayed  to 
the  Great  Spirit  that  he  would  bring  out  the  bird  from  his 
den,  and  place  him  within  reach  of  their  arms.     Their  pet^ 
tion  was  granted,  for   a  terrible  thunder-storm  immediately 
arose,  and  a  stroke  of  lightning  tore   away  one  half  of  a 
large  mountain,  and  the  Indians  were  successful  in  slaying 
their  enemy.     The  Great  Spirit  was  pleased  with  the  cour- 
age  manifested  by  the  Cherokees  during  this  dangerous 
fight,  and,  with  a  view  of  rewarding  the  same,  he  willed  it 
that  all  the  highest  mountains  in  their  land  should  thereaf- 


ter  be  destitute  of  trees,  so  that  they  might  always  have  an 
opportunity  of  watching  the  movements  of  their  enemies- 
As  a  sequel  to  this  legend,  it  may  be  appropriately  men- 
tioned, that  at  the  head  of  the  Too-ge-lah  is  to  be  found  one 
of  the  most  remarkable  curiosities  in  this  mountain-land. 
It  is  a  granite  cliff,  with  a  smooth  surface  or  front,  half  a 
mile  long,  and  twelve  hundred  feet  high,  and  generally 
spoken  of  in  this  part  of  the  country  as  the  White- side 
Mountain,  or  the  Devil's  Court-house.  To  think  of  it  is 
almost  enough  to  make  one  dizzy,  but  to  see  it  fills  one  with 
awe.  Near  the  top  of  one  part  of  this  cliff  is  a  small  cave, 
which  can  be  reached  only  by  passing  over  a  strip  of  rock 
about  two  feet  wide.  One  man  only  has  ever  been  known 
to  enter  it,  and  when  he  performed  the  deed  he  met  at  the 
entrance  of  the  cave  a  large  bear,  which  animal,  in  making 
its  escape,  slipped  off  the  rock,  fell  a  distance  of  near  a 
thousand  feet,  and  was  of  course  killed.  When  the  man 
saw  this,  he  became  so  much  excited  that  it  was  some 
hours  before  he  could  quiet  his  nerves  sufficiently  to 
retrace  his  dangerous  pathway. 


Franklin,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 
The  little  village  of  Franklin  is  romantically  situated  on  the 
Little  Tennessee.  It  is  sm'rounded  with  mountains,  and  as 
quiet  and  pretty  a  hamlet  as  I  have  yet  seen  among  the 
Alleghanies.  On  the  morning  after  entering  this  place,  I 
went  to  the  post  office,  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining  a  peep 
at  the  last  number  of  the  National  Intelligencer,  whereup- 
on the  officiating  gentleman  informed  me  that  I  should  find 
it  at  the  office  of  a  young  lawyer  whom  he  named.  I  call- 
ed upon  the  legal  gentleman,  and  found  him,  like  all  the  in- 
telligent people  of  the  country,  very  polite  and  well  in- 
formed. In  speaking  of  the  surrounding  pictorial  associa- 
tions he  alluded  to  a  certain  waterfall,  and  added  that  the 
gentleman  who  referred  me  to  him  owned  a  plantation 
near  the  falls,  on  a  famous  trout-stream,  and  was  an  angler^ 
On  this  hint  I  sent  a  couple  of  handsome  flies,  as  a  present, 
to  my  post-office  friend,  and  in  less  than  twenty  minutes 
thereafter  he  made  his  appearance  at  my  lodgings,  and  in- 
sisted that  we  should  go  upon  a  fishing  excursion,  and  that 
the  lawyer  should  accompany  us.  Horses  were  immediately 
procured,  and  having  rode  a  distance  of  ten  miles  along  a 
very  beautiful  stream  called  Kul-la-sa-jah,  or  the  Sugar 
Water,  we  came  to  the  chasm  leading  to  the  falls.  Here 
we  tied  our  horses,  and  while  my  companions  commenced 


throwing  the  fly,  I  proceeded  to  the  more  profitable  em- 
ployment of  taking  sketches. 

The  chasm  of  the  Sugar  Water  Falls  is  about  half  a 
mile  long,  and  immediately  below  the  precipices  are  per- 
pendicular and  very  imposing,  reaching  an  elevation  of  at 
least  one  thousand  feet.  The  falls  themselves  are  three  in 
number — the  first  and  principal  one  being  about  sixty  feet 
high.  Emptying  into  the  Sweet  Water,  directly  at  the 
lower  end  of  the  chasm,  is  a  tiny  brook  without  a  name, 
upon  which  I  found  a  cascade  of  great  beauty.  The  water 
falls  near  forty  feet,  but  sings  its  eternal  song  in  a  shadowy 
recess,  where  hoary  trees,  mossy  rocks, and  exquisite  vines, 
of  every  variety  peculiar  to  the  country,  remain  in  their 
original  wildness.  As  I  clambered  up  the  ravine  leading 
to  this  cascade,  1  startled  a  doe  from  the  green  couch  where 
she  had  been  spending  the  noontide  hours.  I  added  a 
number  of  sketches  to  my  portfolio,  and  after  spending 
''  alone  in  my  glory"  the  whole  afternoon,  wandering  from 
one  chasm  to  another,  I  left  the  delightful  valley  with  re- 
luctance, musing  upon  the  marvellous  beauty  of  every 
thing  in  the  world  formed  by  the  hand  of  God. 

On  arriving  at  the  spot  where  our  horses  were  tied,  I 
found  my  companions  both  wearing  uncommonly  long 
faces,  for  they  had  not  succeeded  in  killing  a  single  trout. 
I  joked  my  post-office  friend  about  his  "famous  trout- 
stream,"  and  then,  remounting  our  horses,  we  paid  a  visit 
to  his  plantation,  where  we  enjoyed  a  comfortable  supper, 
and  continued  on  our  way  home  by  the  light  of  the  moon. 
Under  any  circumstances  this  would  have  been  an  agree- 
able ride,  but  on  the  present  occasion  my  companions  did 
all  the  talking,  and  the  substance  of  two  of  their  stories  I 
herewith  subjoin  merely  as  specimens : 


"  I  can't  account  for  our  bad  luck  in  catching  trout  to- 
day/' said  my  post-office  friend;  "but  I  do  assure  you  that 
a  couple  of  young  men  named  Hyatt,  and  myself,  once 
went  a  fishing  in  the  Sweet  Water,  and  we  took  one  hun- 
dred and  seventy-five  trout.  But  this  is  not  to  the  purpose. 
On  that  occasion  we  fished  up  the  stream  ;  and  when  we 
came  to  the  mouth  of  the  chasm,  we  saw  a  big  buck,  which 
we  frightened  towards  the  falls  as  we  ascended.  When 
we  came  near  the  falls,  one  of  the  Hyatts  and  myself 
stopped  fishing,  and  went  to  work  to  corner  the  buck,  and 
see  if  we  could  kill  him  with  stones,  or  cause  him  to  drown 
himself.  There  was  no  way  for  him  to  make  his  escape,  ex- 
cept by  running  directly  over  us,  and  this  we  did  not  suppose 
he  would  dare  attempt.  He  made  many  desperate  efforts  to 
get  away,  and  at  one  time  managed  to  climb  an  almost 
perpendicular  wall  of  rock  to  the  height  of  some  twenty 
feet,  when  he  lost  his  foothold  and  fell  into  the  pool  below. 
He  now  became  very  much  enraged,  but  we  continued  to 
pelt  him  with  stones,  though  without  effecting  any  serious 
injury.  After  bothering  him  for  at  least  half  an  hour,  the 
creature  finally  got  upon  the  rocks  at  the  lower  part  of  the 
pool,  when  he  swept  by  us  with  great  fury,  and  started 
down  the  chasm,  making  some  of  the  most  fearful  leaps 
that  I  ever  saw.  And  now  it  so  happened  that  we  saw 
the  younger  Hyatt  standing  upon  a  rock  and  casting  his 
fly  upon  a  pool,  where  we  thought  the  deer  must  pass  in 
his  downward  course,  and  we  immediately  shouted  to  the 
angler  to  'look  out.'  He  did  so,  and  immediately  drew  out 
a  hunting-knife  which  he  had  in  his  pocket,  and  as  the  deer 
tumbled  into  the  pool,  young  Hyatt  actually  jumped  upon 
his  back,  and  succeeded  in  giving  him  a  fatal  stab,  so  that 
the  animal  merely  crawled  upon  the  rocks  to  die.     It  was 


quite  late  in  the  evening  before  we  started  for  home,  and 
we  only  brought  the  skin  along  with  us ;  but  as  we  left  the 
chasm,  we  saw  a  large  panther  descending  one  of  the  cliffs 
of  the  gorge,  as  if  hastening  to  have  a  feast  upon  the  dead 

The  "  story"  of  my  lawyer  friend,  or  rather  a  fragment 
of  his  entertaining  conversation  was  as  follows  :  "  As  it  is 
important,  Mr.  Lanman,  that  you  should  not  leave  our 
country  without  learning  something  of  our  great  person- 
ages, and  as  our  companion  here  is  a  modest  man,  I  will 
give  you  a  brief  sketch  of  his  character.  He  is  a  gentle- 
man of  some  property,  for  he  not  only  owns  the  plantation 
where  we  took  supper,  but  one  or  two  others  of  equal 
value.  He  is  one  of  the  oldest  residents  in  this  mountain 
region — a  gentleman  of  fine  moral  character,  and  with  a 
heart  as  guileless  as  that  of  a  child.  He  is  a  passionate 
lover  of  scenery,  and  has  probably  explored  the  beauties  of 
this  mountain  land  more  thoroughly  than  any  other  man 
now  living  ;  he  is  also  a  great  lover  of  botany,  geology, 
insectology,  and  a  dozen  other  ologies,  and  I  believe  has 
made  a  number  of  discoveries  in  all  his  favorite  studies. 
As  you  have  heard,  he  tells  a  capital  story,  and,  as  you 
may  see  by  looking  into  some  of  our  southern  newspapers, 
he  uses  the  pen  with  ease  and  a  degree  of  elegance.  He 
cherishes  a  love  for  the  '  angle  art,'  and  I  must  say  usually 
succeeds  in  his  fishing  exploits  much  better  than  he  has 
to-day.  By  profession  he  is  a  knight  of  the  needle ;  but, 
being  somewhat  advanced  in  years,  he  amuses  himself  by 
fulfilUng  the  duties  of  deputy  postmaster  in  the  village  of 

The  lawyer  was  here  interrupted  by  the  hero  of  his 
story,  who  insisted  upon  his  changing  the  "  subject  theme," 


and  the  consequence  is,  my  readers  will  be  disappointed  in 
obtaining  any  more  information  respecting  the  scientific 
deputy  postmaster  of  the  Alleghany  mountains. 

But,  leaving  the  intellectual  out  of  view,  the  most  in- 
teresting character  whom  I  have  seen  about  Franklin  is  an 
old  Cherokee  Indian.  His  name  is  Sa-taw-ha,  or  Hog-Bite, 
and  he  is  upwards  of  one  hundred  years  of  age.  He  lives 
in  a  small  log  hut  among  the  mountains,  the  door  of  which 
is  so  very  low  that  you  have  to  crawl  into  it  upon  your 
hands  and  knees.  At  the  time  the  greater  part  of  his 
nation  were  removed  to  the  Far  West,  the  "  officers  of  jus- 
tice'^ called  to  obtain  his  company.  He  saw  them  as  they 
approached,  and,  taking  his  loaded  rifle  in  hand,  he  warned 
them  not  to  attempt  to  lay  their  hands  upon  him,  for  he 
would  certainly  kill  them.  He  was  found  to  be  so  resolute 
and  so  very  old,  that  it  was  finally  concluded  by  those  in 
power  that  the  old  man  should  be  left  alone.  He  lives  the 
life  of  a  hermit,  and  is  chiefly  supported  by  the  charity  of 
one  or  two  Indian  neighbors,  though  it  is  said  he  even  now 
occasionally  manages  to  kill  a  deer  or  turkey.  His  history 
is  entirely  unknown,  and  he  says  he  can  remember  the 
time  when  the  Cherokee  nation  lived  upon  the  shores  of  a 
great  ocean,  (the  Atlantic,)  and  the  color  of  a  white  man's 
face  was  unknown. 

In  the  immediate  vicinity  of  this  place  may  be  seen 
another  of  those  mysterious  Indian  mounds  which  we  find 
beautifying  nearly  all  the  valleys  of  this  land.  And  here 
it  may  not  be  out  of  place  for  me  to  introduce  the  opinions 
concerning  thei^  origin  which  prevail  among  the  Indian 
tribes  of  the  South.  By  some  they  are  said  to  have  been 
built  by  a  race  of  people  who  have  become  extinct,  and 
were  formerly  used  by  the  Cherokees  merely  as  convenient 



places  to  have  their  dances  and  their  games.     A  supersti- 
tion also  prevails,  that  in   the  ancient   days  every  Indian 
brought  to  a  certain  place  a  small  bark  full  of  the  soil 
w^hich  he  cultivated,  as  a  tribute  to  the  Great  Spirit,  who  in 
return  sent  them  a  plenteous  harvest.     Some  allege  that 
they  were  the  burial  places  of  great  warriors  and  hunters  ; 
some  that  they  were  erected  as  trophies  of  remarkable  vic- 
tories ;  others  that  they  were  built  as  fortresses ;  and  others 
still  that  upon  them  were  performed  the  more  sacred  of  re- 
ligious rites.     There  is  also  a  tradition  existing  among  the 
Cherokees  that  these  mounds  formerly  contained  a  species 
of  sacred  fire ;  and  it  is  well  known  that  an  Indian  has 
never  been  known  to  deface  one  of  them,  and  to  see  them 
defaced  by  the  white  man  always  seems  to  make  them  un- 
happy.    The  only  light  (in  the  way  of  opinion)  that  I  can 
throw  upon  these  mounds  is,   that  they  owe  their  origin  to 
some  aboriginal  custom  similar  to  that  which  has  brought 
together  the  huge  piles  of  stones  which  the  traveller  meets 
with  in  various  portions  of  the  southern  country.     But  all 
this  information  is  traditionary,  the  builders  of  these  mounds 
are  unknown,  and  all  that  even  the  wise  of  the  present  gen- 
eration can  do  is  to  look  upon  them  in  silence  and  wonder. 
The  gentleman  upon  whose  property  the  above  men- 
tioned mound  is  situated  is  the  nabob  of  the  place,  an  in- 
telligent man,  and  an  old  resident.     I  am  now  his  guest 
and  he  lives  in  comfortable  style,  his  dwelling  being  sur- 
rounded with  a  score  or  two  of  out-houses.     He  carries  on 
an  extensive  farming  business,  and  is  the  owner  of  a  goodly 
number  of  tidy,  respectful,  and  industrious  slaves.     Though 
situated  almost  within  rifle-shot  of  an  impassable  mountain, 
his  residence  is  associated  with  clover-fields,  a  well-man- 
aged garden  filled  with  flowers  and  vines,  ancient  trees 


where  sing  the  katydids  in  the  evening  hours,  and  above 
w^hich  swoop  the  joyous  and  noisy  martin  and  the  beautiful 
dove  ;  and  also  with  meadow-fields,  where  horses  and  cattle 
graze  during  the  long  summer  day.  But  there  is  one  asso- 
ciation connected  with  this  farm-house  which  is  still  ring- 
ing in  my  ears  :  I  allude  to  a  perpetual  chorus  of  an  ever- 
lasting quantity  of  jackasses,  peacocks,  and  guinea-hens. 
My  host  seems  to  have  a  passion  for  these  apparently  acci- 
dental or  unfinished  specimens  of  natural  history ;  and  I 
must  say  that  I  have  never  before  been  privileged  to  enjoy 
such  unearthly  music  as  I  have  on  his  plantation.  The 
painful  braying  of  a  jackass  awakens  his  household  from 
their  slumbers,  and  the  same  braying,  accompanied  by  the 
screams  of  the  peacock  and  guinea-hen,  continues  without 
ceasing  until  the  twilight  hour,  when  the  whippoorwill 
takes  up  her  evening  lay,  and  the  world  lapses  into  its 
nightly  repose. 

Having  spent  a  Sabbath  in  Franklin,  I  obtained  a  little 
information  with  regard  to  the  religious  condition  of  the 
people  in  this  section  of  country.  The  only  denominations 
who  have  preaching  here  are  the  Methodists  and  Baptists. 
Among  the  latter  class,  the  Bible  custom  of  washing  feet 
is  still  kept  up  with  rigor.  The  preachers  of  both  denomi- 
nations are  itinerants,  and,  so  far  as  I  have  seen,  are  worthy, 
upright,  and  sensible  men.  They  seem  to  think  more  of 
preaching  the  doctrines  of  Christ  than  proclaiming  their 
own  learning  or  advocating  their  own  opinions,  and  it  is 
therefore  always  a  pleasure  to  hear  them ;  they  know  their 
duties,  and  faithfully  fulfil  them,  and  I  believe  accomplish 
much  good.  The  people  attend  the  Sunday  meetings  from 
a  distance  of  ten  and  fifteen  miles ;  and,  as  the  men  and 
women  all  ride  on  horseback,  and  as  they  often  come  in 


parties,  their  appearance  on  approaching  the  church  is  often 
exceedingly  picturesque. 

On  the  day  of  my  arrival  in  this  village,  a  negro  team- 
ster met  with  an  accident  while  passing  over  a  neighboring 
mountain,  which  resulted  in  his  losing  one  of  his  four  horses, 
which  happened  to  step  over  a  log,  and,  on  being  cut  loose, 
fell  down  a  precipice  of  forty  feet  into  a  pool  of  water.  On 
being  questioned  as  to  the  manner  in  which  the  animal  fell, 
the  negro  briefly  but  teU'mglj  replied,  "  Ka  ivallup,  ka  wal- 
lup,  ka  wallup,  ka  swash !"  I  thought  this  a  most  forcible 
description,  and  could  not  but  admire  the  man's  ingenuity 
in  representing  each  somerset  by  a  single  word. 

Within  a  few  days  past  I  have  become  acquainted  with 
two  insects  which  I  have  never  seen  described,  but  which 
are  found  in  abundance  throughout  the  South.  I  allude  to 
the  dirt-dauber  and  the  stump-stinger.  In  their  general 
appearance  they  both  resemble  the  wasp.  The  first  lives 
in  a  cell,  which  it  builds  on  the  inner  side  of  a  shed  or 
piazza.  It  is  a  noted  enemy  of  the  spider,  and  possesses 
the  art  and  the  habit  of  killing  that  insect  in  great  numbers. 
But  what  is  really  remarkable,  they  have  a  fashion  of  stow- 
ing away  the  carcasses  of  their  slaughtered  enemies  in  their 
dwellings,  as  if  for  future  use  ;  and  after  the  cell  is  full,  they 
close  it  with  mud,  and  proceed  to  build  another  cell,  so  that 
the  opulence  of  one  of  them  may  be  calculated  by  the  num- 
ber of  his  closed  dwellings.  The  stump-stinger  is  remark- 
able for  having  attached  to  the  middle  of  his  body  a  hard 
and  pointed  weapon,  with  which  he  can  dig  a  hole  one  inch 
in  depth  in  the  body  of  even  a  hickory  tree.  This  weapon 
he  usually  carries  under  his  tail,  but  when  about  to  be  used 
makes  him  resemble  a  gimlet  in  form.  The  instrument  is 
very  hard,  and  composed  of  two  pieces,  which  he  works  up 


and  down,  like  a  pair  of  chisels.  It  is  supposed  that  he 
makes  this  hole  for  the  purpose  of  depositing  an  egg,  and 
it  is  alleged  that  the  tree  upon  which  he  once  fastens  him- 
self always  falls  to  decay. 

But  this  allusion  to  insects  reminds  me  of  an  incident 
connected  with  the  ant  which  I  lately  noticed  in  one  of  my 
mountain  rambles.  While  watching  an  ant-hill,  I  discov- 
ered that  the  little  creatures  were  busily  engaged  in  en- 
larging the  hole  of  their  miniature  cavern.  While  watching 
their  movements  with  intense  interest,  my  eyes  chanced  to 
fall  upon  another  detachment  of  the  same  insect,  who  were 
approaching  the  hole  in  question  with  the  dead  body  of  a 
grasshopper.  The  moment  this  party  was  discovered  by 
those  at  the  hole,  the  whole  multitude  fell  to  work  and 
tumbled  their  dead  booty  along  at  a  more  rapid  rate  than 
before.  On  reaching  the  hole  an  attempt  was  made  to 
drag  the  grasshopper  into  it,  but  without  success,  for  it  was 
too  small.  A  movement  to  enlarge  the  hole  was  then  im- 
mediately made,  and  in  a  very  few  moments  the  slain  crea- 
ture was  out  of  my  sight,  and  I  could  almost  fancy  that  I 
saw  the  ants  clapping  their  tiny  hands  and  congratulating 
themselves  upon  the  feat  they  had  accomplished.  Upon 
the  whole  it  was  one  of  the  most  interesting  little  incidents 
that  I  ever  witnessed,  and  I  left  the  spot  feeling  that  I  un- 
derstood the  words  of  Scripture  which  say,  "  Go  to  the  ant, 
thou  sluggard,  and  be  wise  !" 

And  now,  as  the  desultory  character  of  this  letter  will 
probably  fully  satisfy  my  readers,  I  will  bring  it  to  a  close, 
promising  to  be  somewhat  more  circumspect  in  the  future. 


QuALLA  Town,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848.  1 
In  coming  from  Franklin  to  this  place,  a  distance  of 
thirty  miles,  I  travelled  over  a  wild,  mountainous,  and  thinly- 
settled  country,  where  I  was  pained  to  witness  the  evil 
effects  of  intemperance,  and  made  happy  by  following  the 
windings  of  a  beautiful  river.  Having  been  overtaken  by 
a  thunder-storm,  I  found  shelter  in  a  rude  and  comfortless 
cabin,  which  was  occupied  by  a  man  and  his  wife  and  eight 
children.  Every  member  of  the  family  was  barefooted,  and 
one  or  two  of  the  children  almost  destitute  of  clothing  ;  not 
one  of  the  children,  though  one  or  two  of  them  were  full- 
grown  girls,  could  read  a  single  word ;  the  mother  was 
sickly  and  haggard  in  her  appearance,  and  one  of  the  little 
boys  told  me  that  he  had  not  eaten  a  hearty  meal  for  ten 
days.  I  subsequently  learned  that  the  head  of  this  house- 
hold was  a  miserable  drunkard. 

The  river  to  which  I  alluded  is  the  Tuck-a-se-ja,  which 
empties  into  the  Tennessee.  It  is  a  very  rapid  stream,  and 
washes  the  base  of  many  mountains,  which  are  as  wild  as 
they  were  a  century  ago.  Whenever  there  occurs  any  in- 
terval land,  the  soil  is  very  rich,  and  such  spots  are  usually 
occupied.  The  mountains  are  all  covered  with  forest,  where 
wild  game  is  found  in  abundance.  The  fact  is,  the  people 
of  this  whole  region  devote  more  of  their  time  to  hunting 


than  they  do  to  agriculture,  which  fact  accounts  for  their 
proverbial  poverty.  You  can  hardly  pass  a  single  cabin 
without  being  howled  at  by  half  a  dozen  hounds,  and  I  have 
now  become  so  well  educated  in  guessing  the  wealth  of  a 
mountaineer,  that  I  can  fix  his  condition  by  ascertaining  the 
number  of  his  dogs.  A  rich  man  seldom  has  more  than  one 
dog,  while  a  very  poor  man  will  keep  from  ten  to  a  dozen. 
And  this  remark  with  regard  to  dogs,  strange  as  it  may 
seem,  is  equally  applicable  to  the  children  of  the  mountain- 
eers. The  poorest  man,  without  any  exception,  whom  I 
have  seen  in  this  region,  lives  in  a  log  cabin  with  two  rooms, 
and  is  the  father  of  nineteen  children,  and  the  keeper  of  six 

On  my  arrival  in  this  place,  which  is  the  home  of  a  large 
number  of  Cherokee  Indians,  (of  whom  I  shall  have  much 
to  say  in  future  letters,)  I  became  the  guest  of  Mr.  William 
H.  Thomas,  who  is  the  "  guide,  counsellor,  and  friend"  of 
the  Indians,  as  well  as  their  business  agent.  While  con- 
versing with  this  gentleman,  he  excited  my  curiosity  with 
regard  to  a  certain  mountain  in  his  vicinity,  and,  having 
settled  it  in  his  own  mind  that  I  should  spend  a  week  or 
two  with  him  and  his  Indians,  proposed  (first  excusing  him- 
self on  account  of  a  business  engagement)  that  I  should 
visit  the  mountain  in  company  with  a  gentleman  in  his 
employ  as  surveyor.  The  proposed  arrangement  was  car- 
ried out,  and  thus  was  it  that  I  visited  Smoky  Mountain. 

This  mountain  is  the  loftiest  of  a  large  brotherhood 
which  lie  crowded  together  upon  the  dividing  line  between 
North  Carolina  and  Tennessee.  Its  height  cannot  be  less 
than  five  thousand  feet  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  for  the 
road  leading  from  its  base  to  its  summit  is  seven  and  a  half 
miles  long.     The  general  character  of  the  mountain  is  sim- 


ilar  to  that  already  given  of  other  Southern  mountains,  and 
all  that  I  can  say  of  its  panorama  is,  that  I  can  conceive  of 
nothing  more  grand  and  imposing.  It  gives  birth  to  a  pair 
of  glorious  streams,  the  Pigeon  river  of  Tennessee,  and  the 
Ocono  lufty  of  North  Carolina,  and  derives  its  name  from 
the  circumstance  that  its  summit  is  always  enveloped,  on 
account  of  its  height,  in  a  blue  or  smoky  atmosphere. 

But  the  chief  attraction  of  Smoky  Mountain  is  a  sin- 
gular cliff  known  throughout  this  region  as  the  Alum  Cave. 
In  reaching  this  spot,  which  is  on  the  Tennessee  side,  you 
have  to  leave  your  horses  on  the  top  of  the  mountain,  and 
perform  a  pedestrian  pilgrimage  of  about  six  miles  up  and 
down,  very  far  up  and  ever  so  far  down,  and  over  every 
thing  in  the  way  of  rocks  and  ruined  vegetation  which  Na- 
ture could  possibly  devise,  until  you  come  to  a  mountain 
side,  which  is  only  two  miles  from  your  starting  place  at 
the  peak.  Roaring  along  at  the  base  of  the  mountain-side 
alluded  to  is  a  small  stream,  from  the  margin  of  which  you 
have  to  climb  a  precipice,  in  a  zigzag  way,  which  is  at  least 
two  thousand  feet  high,  when  you  find  yourself  on  a  level 
spot  of  pulverized  stone,  with  a  rocky  roof  extending  over 
your  head  a  distance  of  fifty  or  sixty  feet.  The  length  of 
this  hollow  in  the  mountain,  or  "  cave,"  as  it  is  called,  is 
near  four  hundred  feet,  and  from  the  brow  of  the  butting 
precipice  to  the  level  below  the  distance  is  perhaps  one 
hundred  and  fifty  feet.  The  top  of  the  cliff  is  covered  with 
a  variety  of  rare  and  curious  plants,  and  directly  over  its 
centre  trickles  a  little  stream  of  water,  which  forms  a  tiny 
pool,  Uke  a  fountain  in  front  of  a  spacious  piazza.  The 
principal  ingredients  of  the  rock  composing  this  whitish 
cliff  are  alum,  epsom  salts,  saltpetre,  magnesia,  and  cop- 
peras, and  the  water  which  oozes  therefrom  is  distinguished 


for  its  strong  medicinal  qualities.  This  strange  and  almost 
inaccessible,  but  unquestionably  very  valuable  cave,  belongs 
to  a  company  of  neighboring  Carolinians,  who  have  already 
made  some  money  out  of  the  alum,  but  have  not  yet  accom- 
plished much  in  the  way  of  purifying  and  exporting  the 
various  products  in  which  it  abounds. 

The  scenery  upon  which  this  cave  looks  down,  how- 
ever, interested  me  quite  as  much  as  the  cave  itself  From 
the  most  comprehensive  point  of  view  two  mountains  de- 
scend abruptly  into  a  kind  of  amphitheatre,  where  the  one 
on  the  right  terminates  in  a  very  narrow  and  ragged  ridge, 
which  is  without  a  particle  of  vegetation,  while  far  beyond, 
directly  in  front  of  the  cave,  rises  a  lofty  and  pointed  moun- 
tain, backed  by  some  three  or  four  of  inferior  magnitude. 
The  ridge  which  I  have  mentioned  is  itself  very  high,  but 
yet  the  cave  looks  down  upon  it,  and  it  is  so  fantastic  in  its 
appearance  that  from  different  points  of  view  you  may  dis- 
cover holes  leading  like  windows  entirely  through  it,  while 
from  other  places  you  might  fancy  that  you  looked  upon  a 
ruined  castle,  a  decayed  battlement,  or  the  shattered  tower 
of  an  old  cathedral.  To  gaze  upon  this  prospect  at  the 
sunset  hour,  when  the  mountains  were  tinged  with  a  rosy 
hue,  and  the  immense  hollow  before  me  was  filled  with  a 
purple  atmosphere,  and  I  could  see  the  rocky  ledge  basking 
in  the  sunlight  like  a  huge  monster  on  the  placid  bosom  of 
a  lake,  was  to  me  one  of  the  most  remarkable  and  impres- 
sive scenes  that  I  ever  witnessed  ;  and  then  remember,  too, 
that  I  looked  upon  this  wonderful  prospect  from  a  frame- 
work of  solid  rock,  composed  of  the  stooping  cliff.  It  was 
a  glorious  picture,  indeed,  and  would  have  amply  repaid  one 
for  a  pilgrimage  from  the  remotest  corner  of  the  earth.         * 

The  ordinary  time  required  to  visit  the  Alum  Cave  is 


two  days ;  but,  owing  to  bad  weather,  my  friend  and  my- 
self occupied  the  most  of  four  days  in  performing  the  same 
trip.  To  give  a  minute  account  of  all  that  we  met  with 
would  occupy  too  much  time,  and  I  will  therefore  only  re- 
cord in  this  place  the  incidents  which  made  the  deepest 
impression  on  my  own  mind. 

Our  first  night  from  home  we  spent  in  the  cabin  of  a 
man  who  treated  us  with  the  utmost  kindness,  and  would 
not  receive  a  penny  for  his  pains.  So  much  for  mountain 
hospitality.  And  now,  to  prove  that  our  friend  was  an  in- 
telligent man,  it  may  be  mentioned  that  he  is  an  adept  in 
the  following  professions  and  trades,  viz.  those  of  medicine* 
the  law,  the  blacksmith,  th^e  carpenter,  the  hunter,  the  shoe- 
maker, the  watchmaker,  the  farmer,  and  he  also  seemed 
to  possess  an  inkling  of  some  half  dozen  sciences.  Now,  I 
do  not  exactly  mean  to  assert  that  the  gentleman  is  a  mas- 
ter practitioner  in  all  these  departments  of  human  learning 
and  industry  ;  but  if  you  were  to  judge  of  his  ability  by  his 
use  of  technical  words,  you  would  not  for  a  moment  ima- 
gine he  could  have  a  competitor.  But  so  it  is  in  this  wild 
region,  one  man  has  to  perform  the  intellectual  labor  of  a 
whole  district  ;  and,  what  is  really  a  hard  case,  the  know- 
ledge which  is  thus  brought  to  so  good  a  market  is  nearly 
always  the  fruit  of  a  chance  education,  and  not  of  a  sys- 
tematic one. 

Among  those  'vyho  spent  the  night  with  us  under  the 
roof  of  the  above  accomplished  man,  was  one  of  the  idle 
vagabonds  of  the  country.  This  individual,  it  appears,  had 
met  with  a  singular  accident  on  the  day  previous,  and 
amused  us  by  relating  it.  I  regret  that  I  cannot  remember 
all  the  singular  epithets  that  he  employed,  but  1  will  do  my 
best  to  report  him  faithfully  : 


"  Now,  the  way  the  thing  happened  was  this,  and  I  reck- 
on you  never  heard  sich  hke  afore.  A  lot  of  us  fellers  was 
out  in  'Squire  Jones's  millpond  a  v  ashing  ourselves  and 
swimming.  Now,  I  allow  this  pond,  in  a  common  way,  is 
nigh  on  to  half  a  mile  long ;  but  at  this  time  they  were 
draining  the  pond,  and  it  warnt  so  very  large.  Wall,  there 
was  one  spot,  well  nigh  the  middle — no,  not  exactly ;  I 
reckon  it  was  a  little  to  the  left — where  the  water  poured 
out  into  a  rale  catarock.  The  fellers  I  was  with  got  the 
devil  in  'em,  and  offered  to  bet  the  tobaccer  that  I  couldn't 
swim  near  the  big  hole  in  the  dam  without  going  through. 
I  agreed,  for  I  always  counted  myself  a  powerful  swimmer. 
'  made  one  try,  and  just  touched  the  outside  of  the  whirl- 
pool. The  fellers  laughed  at  me  and  said  I  couldn't  come 
it.  I  knew  they  said  what  was  not  so,  and  I  got  mad.  I 
tried  it  again,  and  went  a  bit  nearer,  when  they  yelled 
^^ut  "again  and  said  it  was  no  go.  By  this  time  I  was  con- 
uderable  perplexed,  but  I  swore  to  myself  I  would  have  the 
.obaccer,  and  I  made  one  more  try.  But  this  time  I  got 
tnto  the  whirlpool,  and  couldn't  get  out ;  and,  in  less  than 
1.0  time,  the  water  wheeled  my  head  round  to  the  hole, 
8'd  in  I  went  quick  as  a  streak.  I  went  through  the  hole, 
■'bvut  four  or  six  feet  long — no,  I  allow  'twas  seven  feet — 
aad  fell  into  the  surge  below,  and,  in  five  minutes  or  so — 
p-zirhaps  six — -I  was  on  dry  land,  sound  as  a  button.  The 
joKe  was  on  the  fellers  then,  and  when  I  told  'em  to  hand 
over  my  plunder,  they  said  they  would,  and  told  me  I  looked 
like  a  big  frog  when  I  come  out  of  the  hole  into  the  pool 
^eiow  the  dam." 

On  the  following  morning  we  travelled  to  the  foot  of 
Smoky  Mountain,  and  having  obtained  a  guide,  who  hap- 
pened to  be  one  of  the  proprietors  of  Alum  Cave,  we  re- 


sumed  our  journey.  In  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the  cave 
"we  came  across  an  Indian  camp,  where  were  two  Indians 
who  were  out  bear-hunting.  We  were  admitted  under 
their  bark  roof,  and  with  them  spent  the  night,  sleeping  upon 
the  ground.  We  remained  a  sufficient  length  of  time  to 
enjoy  one  supper  and  one  breakfast ;  the  first  was  composed 
of  corn  bread  and  bear  meat,  and  the  second  of  trout  (caught 
in  a  neighboring  stream)  and  a  corn  cake  fried  in  the  fat 
of  a  bear. 

On  questioning  our  Indian  landlords,  as  we  sat  around 
our  watch  fire,  with  regard  to  the  Alum  Cave,  I  could  only 
gather  the  fact  that  it  was  originally  discovered  by  the  fa- 
mous chief  Yo-na-gus-ka,  who  happened  in  his  youth  to 
track  a  bear  to  one  of  its  corners,  where  he  had-  a  den. 
Disappointed  on  this  score,  I  then  turned  to  our  guide  to 
see  what  he  could  tell  me  about  the  cave  that  was  not 
connected  with  its  minerals,  and  the  substance  of  his  nar- 
rative was  as  follows  : 

I  hav'n't  much  to  say  about  the  cave  that  I  knows  of, 
excepting  one  or  two  little  circumstances  about  myself  and 
another  man.  The  first  time  I  come  here  it  was  with  my 
brother  and  two  Indians.  The  sight  of  this  strange  gash 
in  the  mountain  and  the  beautiful  scenery  all  around  made 
me  very  excited,  and  I  was  for  climbing  on  top,  and  no 
mistake.  The  Indians  and  my  brother  started  with  me  up 
the  ledge  at  the  north  end  of  the  cave,  but  when  we  got 
up  about  half  way,  just  opposite  to  an  eagle's  nest,  where 
the  creatures  were  screaming  at  a  fearful  rate,  they  all  three 
of  'em  backed  down,  and  said  I  must  not  keep  on.  I  told 
'em  I  was  determined  to  see  the  top,  and  I  would.  I  did 
get  on  top,  and,  after  looking  round  a  while  and  laughing 
at  the  fellows  below,  I  began  to  think  of  going  down  again. 


And  then  it  was  that  I  felt  a  good  deal  skeered.  I  found 
I  couldn't  get  down  the  way  I  got  up,  so  I  turned  about  for 
a  new  place.  It  was  now  near  sundown,  and  I  hadn't  yet 
found  a  place  that  suited  me,  and  1  was  afraid  I'd  have  to 
sleep  out  alone  and  without  any  fire.  And  the  only  way  I 
ever  got  down  was  to  find  a  pine  tree  that  stood  pretty 
close  to  a  low  part  of  the  ledge,  some  three  hundred  yards 
from  the  cave,  when  I  got  into  its  top,  and  so  came  down 
among  my  friends,  who  said  it  was  a  wonder  I  hadn't  been 

"  I  generally  have  had  to  pilot  all  strangers  to  the  cave 
since  that  time,  and  1  remember  one  circumstance  that 
happened  to  a  Tennessee  lawyer,  who  caused  us  a  good 
deal  of  fun  ;  for  there  was  a  party  of  young  gentlemen 
there  at  the  time.  We  had  a  camp  right  under  the  cave, 
where  it's  always  dry,  and  about  midnight  the  lawyer  I 
mentioned  suddenly  jumped  up  as  we  were  all  asleep,  and 
began  to  yell  in  the  most  awful  manner,  as  if  something 
dreadful  had  happened.  He  jumped  about  as  if  in  the 
greatest  agony,  and  called  on  God  to  have  mercy  on  him, 
for  he  knew  he  would  die.  O,  he  did  carry  on  at  a  most 
awful  rate,  and  we  thought  he  must  have  been  bitten  by 
some  snake  or  was  crazy,  so  we  tore  off  his  clothes  to  see 
what  was  the  matter ;  and  what  do  you  suppose  we  found  ? 
Nothing  but  a  harmless  little  lizard,  that  had  run  up  the 
poor  man's  legs,  all  the  way  up  to  his  arm-pits,  thinking,  I 
suppose,  that  his  clothes  was  the  bark  of  a  dead  tree.  After 
the  trouble  was  all  over,  the  way  we  laughed  at  the  fellow 
was  curious." 

Our  second  day  at  the  Alum  Cave  (and  third  one  from 
home)  was  a  remarkably  cheerless  one  ;  for  a  regular  snow- 
storm set  in,  mingled  with  hail,  and,  before  we  could  reach 


our  horses  and  descend  the  Smoky  Mountain,  some  three 
or  four  inches  of  snow  had  fallen.  We  spent  that  night 
under  the  roof  of  our  good  friend  and  worthy  man,  the 
guide,  and  it  was  with  difficulty  that  we  could  induce  him 
to  receive  a  quarter  eagle  for  all  his  trouble  in  piloting  us 
and  treating  us  to  his  best  fare.  On  that  night  we  ate  our 
supper  at  nine  o'clock,  and  what  rendered  it  somewhat  pe- 
culiar was  the  fact  that  his  two  eldest  daughters,  and  very 
pretty  girls  besides,  waited  upon  us  at  table,  holding  above 
our  heads  a  couple  of  torches  made  of  the  fat  pine.  That 
was  the  first  time  that  I  was  ever  waited  upon  in  so  regal 
a  style,  and  more  than  once  during  the  feast  did  I  long  to 
retire  in  a  corner  of  the  smoky  and  dingy  cabin  to  take  a 
sketch  of  the  romantic  scene.  At  sunrise  on  the  following 
morning  my  companion  and  myself  remounted  our  horses, 
and  in  three  hours  were  eating  our  breakfast  in  Qualla 


QuALLA  Town,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 
Qualla  Town  is  a  name  applied  to  a  tract  of  seventy- 
two  thousand  acres  of  land,  in  Haywood  county,  which  is 
occupied  by  about  eight  hundred  Cherokee  Indians  and 
one  hundred  Catawbas.  Their  district  is  mountainous 
from  one  extremity  to  the  other,  and  watered  by  a  num- 
ber of  beautiful  streams,  which  abound  in  fish ;  the  valleys 
and  slopes  are  quite  fertile,  and  the  lower  mountains  are 
well  adapted  to  grazing,  and  at  the  same  time  are  heavily 
timbered  and  supplied  with  every  variety  of  game.  This 
portion  of  a  much  larger  multitude  of  aborigines,  in  consid- 
eration of  their  rank  and  age,  and  of  valuable  services  ren- 
dered to  the  United  States,  were  permitted  by  the  General 
Government  to  remain  upon  their  native  soil,  while  the 
great  body  of  the  Cherokee  nation  were  driven  into  exile. 
They  (the  exiles)  amounted  in  all  to  more  than  sixteen 
thousand  souls,  eighteen  liundred  and  fifty  having  died  on 
their  way  to  the  ''promised  land''  beyond  the  Mississippi. 
And  here  it  may  with  propriety  be  added,  that  since  the  re- 
moval those  in  the  West  have  gradually  decreased  in  num- 
bers, while  the  remaining  portion  have  steadily  increased 
by  births  at  the  rate  of  four  per  cent,  per  annum.  In  ad- 
dition to  the  Indians  above  mentioned,  it  ought  to  be  stated 
that  there  is  a  remnant  of  two  hundred  still  remaining  in 


the  county  of  Cherokee ;  of  those,  however,  I  know  but 

httle,  and  therefore  purpose  to  confine  my  remarks  to  those 

of  Qualla  Town  alone. 

The  Indians  of  this  district,  having  formed  themselves 
into  a  regular  company,  with  appropriate  regulations,  they 
elected  an  old  friend  of  theirs,  named  William  H.  Thomas,  - 
(mentioned  in  my  last  letter,)  to  become  their  business  chief, 
so  that  the  connection  now  existing  between  the  two  parties 
is  that  of  father  and  children.  What  the  result  of  this  ar- 
rangement has  been  will  be  fully  understood  when  I  come  " 
to  speak  of  the  advance  which  the  Indians  have  made  in  the 
march  of  civilization.  As  they  are  organized  at  the  present 
time,  the  Qualla  Town  people  are  divided  into  seven  clans, 
and  to  each  clan  is  assigned  what  is  called  a  town,  over 
each  of  which  presides  a  regular  chief.  The  Cherokee 
nation  was  originally  divided  into  seven  clans,  which  were 
probably  descended  from  certain  noted  families,  and  the  old 
party  feehng  is  still  preserved  with  jealous  care  among  their 
descendants  in  this  vicinity.  The  names  of  the  clans  are : 
In-e-chees-quah,  or  Bird  Clan  ;  In-egil-lohee,  or  Pretty-faced 
Clan  ;  In-e-wo-tah,  or  Paint  Clan ;  In-e-wah-he-yah,  or 
Wolf  Clan ;  In-e-se-ho-nih,  or  Blue  Clan  ;  In-e-co-wih,  or 
Deer  Clan;  and  In-e-eo-te-ca-wih,  the  meaning  of  which  is 
not  known.  And  among  the  customs  which  prevail  among 
these  clans  is  one  which  prevents  their  marrying  among 
themselves,  so  that  they  have  to  select  their  wives  from  a 
neighboring  fraternity.  Formerly  such  marriages  were  pro- 
hibited by  penalty  of  death. 

With  regard  to  the  extent  of  their  civilization  and  their 
existing  manner  of  life,  the  following  may  be  looked  upon 
as  a  comprehensive  summary  :  About  three-fourths  of  the 
entire  population    can  read  in   their  own  language,  and, 


though  the  majority  of  them  understand  EngHsh,  a  very 
few  can  speak  the  language.  They  practise,  to  a  con- 
siderable extent,  the  science  of  agriculture,  and  have  ac- 
quired such  a  knowledge  of  the  mechanic  arts  as  answers 
them  for  all  ordinary  purposes,  for  they  manufacture  their 
own  clothing,  their  own  ploughs,  and  other  farming  uten- 
sils, their  own  axes,  and  even  their  own  guns.  Their 
women  are  no  longer  treated  as  slaves,  but  as  equals  ;  the 
men  labor  in  the  fields,  and  their  wives  are  devoted  entirely 
to  household  employments.  They  keep  the  same  domestic 
animals  that  are  kept  by  their  white  neighbors,  and  culti- 
vate all  the  common  grains  of  the  country.  They  are  pro- 
bably as  temperate  as  any  other  class  of  people  on  the  face 
of  the  earth,  honest  in  their  business  intercourse,  moral  in 
their  thoughts,  words,  and  deeds,  and  distinguished  for  their 
faithfulness  in  performing  the  duties  of  religion.  They  are 
chiefly  Methodists  and  Baptists,  and  have  regularly  ordained 
ministers,  who  preach  to  them  on  every  Sabbath,  and  they 
have  also  abandoned  many  of  their  mere  senseless  super- 
stitions. They  have  their  own  courts  and  try  their  crimi- 
nals by  a  regular  jury.  Their  judges  and  lawyers  are 
chosen  from  among  themselves.  They  keep  in  order  the 
public  roads  leading  through  their  settlement.  By  a  law 
of  the  State  they  have  the  right  to  vote,  but  seldom  exer- 
cise that  right,  as  they  do  not  like  the  idea  of  being  identi- 
fied with  any  ol  the  political  parties.  Excepting  on  festive 
days,  they  dress  after  the  manner  of  the  white  man,  but 
far  more  picturesquely.  They  live  in  small  log  houses  of 
their  own  construction,  and  have  every  thing  they  need  or 
desire  in  the  way  of  food.  They  are,  in  fact,  the  happiest 
community  that  I  have  yet  met  with  in  this  Southern 
country,  and  no  candid  man  can  visit  them  without  being 


convinced  of  the  wickedness  and  foolishness  of  that  policy 
of  the  Government  which  has  always  acted  upon  the  opin- 
ion that  the  red  man  could  not  be  educated  into  a  reasona- 
ble being. 

By  way  of  giving  my  readers  a  correct  idea  of  the  pre- 
sent condition  of  the  Carolina  Cherokees  I  will  describe  a 
visit  that  I  paid  to  one  of  their  churches  on  the  Sabbath. 
I  was  anxious  to  see  how  far  they  were  advanced  in  the 
w^nys  of  Christian  instruction,  and,  though  I  noticed  many 
little  eccentricities,  I  was,  upon  the  whole,  very  much 
pleased  with  what  I  saw  and  heard.  I  was  accompanied 
by  Mr.  Thomas,  and  we  reached  the  rude  but  spacious  log 
meeting-house  about  eleven  o'clock.  The  first  hour  was. 
devoted  to  instructing  the  children  from  a  Cherokee  Cate- 
chism, and  the  chiefs  of  the  several  clans  w^ere  the  officiating 
teachers.  At  twelve  o'clock  a  congregation  of  some  one 
hundred  and  fifty  souls  was  collected,  a  large  proportion  of 
whom  were  women,  who  were  as  neatly  dressed  as  could 
be  desired,  with  tidy  calico  gowns,  and  fancy  handkerchiefs 
tied  over  their  heads.  The  deportment  of  all  present  was 
as  circumspect  and  solemn  as  I  have  ever  witnessed  in  any 
New  England  religious  assembly.  When  a  prayer  was 
oflered  they  all  fell  upon  their  knees,  and  in  singing  all  but 
the  concluding  hymn  they  retained  their  seats.  Their  form 
of  w^orship  was  according  to  the  Methodist  custom,  but  in 
their  singing  there  was  a  wild  and  plaintive  sweetness 
which  was  very  impressive.  The  w^omen  and  children  as 
well  as  the  men  participated  in  this  portion  of  the  cere- 
rtiony,  and  some  of  the  female  voices  reminded  me  of  the 
caroling  of  birds.  They  sung  four  hymns  ;  three  prayers 
v^ere  offered  by  several  individuals,  and  two  sermons  or 
exhortations  were  delivered.     The  prayers  were  short  and 


pointed,  and,  as  the  shortest  might  be  considered  a  fair  spe- 
cimen of  the  others,  I  will  transcribe  it  for  the  edification 
of  my  readers : 

*'  Almighty  Lord,  who  art  the  father  of  the  world,  look 
down  from  heaven  on  this  congregation.  Bless  the  In- 
dians, and  supply  them  with  all  the  food  and  clothing  they 
may  want ;  bless,  also,  the  white  men,  and  give  them  every 
thing  they  may  need.  Aid  us  all,  O  Lord,  in  all  our  good 
works.  Take  care  of  us  through  life,  and  receive  us  in 
heaven  when  the  world  shall  be  burnt  up.  We  pray  thee 
to  take  care  of  this  young  white  man  who  has  come  to  this 
Indian  meeting.  Protect  him  in  all  his  travels,  and  go 
with  him  to  his  distant  home,  for  we  know  by  his  kind 
words  that  he  is  a  friend  of  the  poor,  ignorant,  and  perse- 
cuted Indian.     Amen !" 

The  first  preacher  who  addressed  the  meeting  was  a 
venerable  man.  Big  Chaidey,  and  he  took  for  his  text  the 
entire  first  chapter  of  John  ;  but,  before  proceeding  with 
his  remarks,  he  turned  to  Mr.  Thomas  and  wished  to  know 
if  he  should  preach  with  the  "  linguister,"  or  interpreter,  for 
the  benefit  of  the  young  stranger.  I  told  him  no ;  but  re- 
quested Mr.  Thomas  to  take  notes,  and,  through  his  kind- 
ness, it  is  now  my  privilege  to  print  the  substance  of  that 
Cherokee  sermon.     It  was  as  follows  : 

"  In  the  beginning  of  creation,  the  world  was  covered 
with  water.  God  spake  the  word  and  the  dry  land  was 
m.ade.  He  next  made  the  day  and  the  night ;  also,  the  sun, 
moon,  and  stars.  He  then  made  all  the  beasts  and  birds 
and  fishes  in  the  world,  and  was  much  pleased.  He  wanted 
some  one  to  take  care  of  all  these  creatures,  and  so  he 
made  man,  and  from  his  body  a  woman,  to  help  him  and 
be  his  companion.     He  put  them  into  a  beautiful  garden, 


which  was  filled  with  all  kinds  of  good  things  to  eat,  but 
told  them  that  there  was  one  fruit  they  must  not  touch. 
That  fruit  was  an  apple,  I  believe.  The  woman  was  not 
grateful  to  God,  and  when  a  wicked  serpent  told  her  she 
might  eat  of  the  beautiful  fruit  which  she  was  so  curious 
to  taste,  she  did  eat  of  it,  and  gave  some  to  the  man,  and 
he  took  some  too.  God  talked  with  the  man  about  his 
wicked  conduct,  and  told  him  that  he  and  his  children 
should  always  have  to  work  very  hard  for  all  they  had  to 
eat,  so  long  as  they  lived  in  the  world ;  and  to  the  woman, 
God  said,  she  must  always  suffer  very  much  when  she  had 
children,  and  that  the  man  should  be  her  master.  The 
man  and  woman  were  then  turned  out  of  the  beautiful  gar- 
den, and  they  were  the  father  and  mother  of  all  the  Indians 
in  the  world,  as  well  as  the  white  men  and  the  black  men. 
They  had  a  great  many  children,  and  the  world  was  very 
full  of  people.  The  people  were  very  wicked,  and  God 
warned  a  good  man  that  he  intended  to  destroy  the  \vorld 
by  covering  it  all  with  water,  and  that  this  good  man  must 
build  a  large  boat  like  a  house,  and  get  into  it  with  his  fa- 
mily, that  they  might  not  perish.  The  people  laughed  at 
this  good  man  for  believing  such  a  story  ;  but  he  took  into 
his  house  two  kinds  of  all  the  animals  in  the  world,  and  the 
waters  came ;  so  the  world  was  destroyed.  After  many 
days  the  good  man  sent  out  a  dove  to  find  some  land,  but 
it  could  not  find  any  and  came  back.  He  sent  it  out  again, 
and  it  never  returned,  and  soon  the  great  house  rested  on 
the  top  of  a  high  mountain.  Another  race  of  people  then 
covered  the  earth  ;  and  a  great  many  good  men  lived  upon 
the  earth.  One  of  the  greatest  of  them  it  was  who  received 
from  God  the  ten  commandments,  which  direct  all  men  how 
to  be  good  and  happy ;  but  the  world  was  yet  very  wicked. 


Long  after  this,  God  sent  into  the  world  his  only  Son, 
whose  name  was  Jesus  Christ.  This  wonderful  being  it 
was  who  gave  up  his  own  life  that  all  the  wicked  of  the 
world  might  be  saved,  and  the  justice  of  God  be  satisfied  ; 
and  so  it  is,  that  all  the  Indians,  as  well  as  the  white  men, 
who  live  like  Jesus  Christ,  can  get  to  heaven  when  they 

In  delivering  his  sermon  the  preacher  occupied  about 
thirty  minutes  ;  and  the  above  facts  were  cemented  together 
by  a  great  number  of  flowery  expressions,  which  made  it 
quite  poetical.  His  manner  was  impressive,  but  not  par- 
ticularly eloquent.  After  he  had  taken  his  seat,  and  a 
hymn  had  been  sung,  a  young  man  stepped  into  the  rude 
pulpit,  who  has  distinguished  himself  by  his  eloquence.  His 
name  is  Tekin-neb,  or  the  Garden  of  Eden.  He  spoke  from 
the  same  text,  and  his  remarks  bore  chiefly  on  the  redemp- 
tion by  Christ.  At  the  conclusion  of  his  address  he  gave 
a  sketch  of  his  own  religious  experience,  and  concluded  by 
a  remarkably  affecting  appeal  to  his  hearers.  His  voice, 
emphasis,  and  manner  were  those  of  a  genuine  orator,  and 
his  thoughts  were  poetical  to  an  uncommon  degree.  In 
dwelling  upon  the  marvellous  love  of  the  Saviour,  and  the 
great  wickedness  of  the  world,  he  was  affected  to  tears, 
and  when  he  concluded  there  was  hardly  a  dry  eye  in  the 

After  the  benediction  had  been  pronounced,  Mr.  Thomas 
delivered  a  short  address  to  the  meeting  on  Temperance 
and  a  few  secular  matters,  when  the  Indians  quietly  dis- 
persed to  their  several  homes.  I  retired  to  my  own  tempo- 
rary home,  deeply  impressed  by  what  I  had  seen  and 
heard,  for  my  pride  had  been  humbled  while  listening  to 
the  rude  savage,  whose  religious  knowledge  was  evidently 
superior  to  my  own. 


QiJALLA  Town,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 

The  plan  adopted  for  the  civilization  of  the  Carolina 
Cherokees  differs  materially  from  any  others  adopted  in  the 
United  States.  Their  amusements  are  not  interfered  with, 
excepting  when  found  to  have  an  immoral  or  unhappy  ten- 
dency. A  goodly  number  of  their  more  ridiculous  games, 
however,  they  have  abandoned  of  their  own  accord,  but  the 
manly  game  of  hall-playing  is  still  practised  after  the  an- 
cient manner,  with  one  or  two  restrictions.  In  the  first 
place,  they  are  not  allowed  to  wager  their  property  on  the 
games,  as  of  old,  unless  it  be  some  trifle  in  the  way  of  a 
woollen  belt  or  cotton  handkerchief,  and  they  are  prohibited 
from  choking  each  other,  and  breaking  their  heads  and  legs, 
when  excited,  as  was  their  habit  in  former  times.  Since 
my  arrival  here  the  Indians  have  had  one  of  their  ball 
games,  and  as  it  was  gotten  up  especially  for  my  edifica- 
tion, I  made  it  a  point  of  etiquette  to  be  present  at  the 
preparatory  dance  and  the  game,  as  well  as  at  the  con- 
cluding ceremony,  and  these  I  will  now  endeavor  to  de- 

The  preparatory  or  training  dance  took  place  on  the 
night  preceding  the  game,  and  none  participated  in  it  who 
were  not  to  play  on  the  following  day.  There  were  sixty 
young  men  present,  besides  the  spectators,  and  they' met  on 


a  grassy  plot  formed  by  a  bend  of  a  neighboring  stream 
called  Soco  Creek.  The  dancers  were  stripped  of  every 
particle  of  clothing  but  their  waistbands  ;  they  made  their 
own  music,  which  was  composed  merely  of  a  rapid  succes- 
sion of  whoops  and  shouts  ;  and  they  danced  round  a  large 
blazing  fire.  The  night  in  question  was  very  beautiful,  and 
when  this  strange  group  was  looked  upon  by  the  light  of 
the  full  moon,  and  the  wild  mountain  scenery  on  every 
side,  they  presented  a  most  romantic  appearance  indeed. 
They  kept  up  the  dance  for  over  an  hour,  and,  when  it 
was  concluded,  all  the  men  immediately  ran  towards  a 
deep  pool  in  the  ice-cold  stream,  and  without  waiting 
for  the  perspiration  to  cool,  plunged  into  the  water,  and, 
having  finally  emerged,  started  for  their  several  homes. 
This  dance,  I  am  informed,  had  its  origin  in  an  ancient  cus- 
tom, which  compelled  all  the  candidates  for  a  game  of  ball 
to  inure  themselves  to  every  hardship  for  ten  days  before 
the  game  took  place,  and  during  all  that  time  they  were  to 
eat  but  little  food,  and  were  to  refrain  from  gratifying  any 
of  their  sensual  appetites. 

On  the  morning  of  the  game  a  large  plain,  lying  be- 
tween two  hills  and  directly  in  front  of  the  Indian  Court- 
house, (a  large  circular  lodge,  built  of  logs,)  was  divested 
of  every  stone  and  stick  on  its  surface,  and  at  ten  o'clock 
the  spectators  began  to  assemble.  These  were  composed 
of  the  old  men  of  the  nation,  a  large  number  of  boys,  and 
a  still  larger  number  of  women  and  children.  They  were 
all  dressed  in  their  holiday  attire,  so  that  feathers,  shawl 
turbans,  scarlet  belts,  and  gaudy  hunting  shirts  were  quite 
abundant ;  and,  scattered  as  they  were  in  groups  of  from 
five  to  fifty  on  the  hill  sides  and  under  ..e  shadow  of  the 
trees,  they  presented  a  most  picturesque  appearance.     Dur- 


ing  all  this  time  the  players  had  kept  out  of  sight,  and  it 
was  understood  that  the  two  parties  were  among  the 
bushes,  at  the  two  ends  of  the  plain,  preparing  themselves 
for  the  game.  Under  the  direction  of  the  presiding  chief 
or  game-director,  two  poles  were  now  erected  about  six 
hundred  yards  apart,  on  either  side  of  a  given  centre,  and 
in  this  centre  was  placed  the  ball.  From  this  point  was 
the  ball  to  be  given  to  the  players,  and  the  party  which  first 
succeeded  in  throwing  it  outside  of  the  pole  belonging  to 
their  opponents  to  the  number  of  twelve  times  were  to  be 
considered  the  winners. 

Every  thing  being  ready,  a  shrill  whoop  was  given  from 
one  end  of  the  plain,  and  immediately  answered  by  the  op- 
posing party,  when  they  all  made  their  appearance,  march- 
ing slowly  to  the  centre,  shouting  and  yelling  as  they  passed 
along.  Each  party  consisted  of  thirty  splendidly  formed 
young  men,  who  were  unincumbered  by  any  clothing,  save 
their  common  waistband,)  and  every  individual  carried  in 
his  hand  a  pair  of  ball  sticks,  made  with  a  braided  bag  at 
one  end.  As  the  parties  approached  the  centre,  the  lady- 
loves of  the  players  ran  out  upon  the  plain  and  gave  their 
favorite  champions  a  variety  of  articles,  such  as  belts  and 
handkerchiefs,  which  they  were  willing  to  wager  upon 
the  valor  of  their  future  husbands.  This  little  movement 
struck  me  as  particularly  interesting,  and  I  was  greatly 
pleased  with  the  bashfulnesss  and  yet  complete  confidence 
with  which  the  Indian  maidens  manifested  their  prefer- 

When  the  several  parties  were  assembled  at  the  centre 
of  the  plain,  each  man  selected  his  particular  antagonist  by 
placing  his  sticks  at  his  rival's  feet,  after  which  the  game- 
director  delivered  a  long  speech,  wherein  he  warned  them 


to  adhere  to  the  existing  regulations ;  and,  throwing  the 
ball  high  up  in  the  air,  made  his  escape  to  one  side  of  the 
plain,  and  the  game  commenced.  As  it  proceeded,  the 
players  became  greatly  excited,  and  1  noticed  that  the  ball 
was  never  taken  in  hand  until  after  it  had  been  picked  up 
by  the  spoony  stick,  but  the  expertness  with  which  these 
movements  were  performed  was  indeed  surprising.  At 
one  time  the  whole  crowd  of  players  would  rush  together 
in  the  most  desperate  and  fearful  manner,  presenting,  as 
they  struggled  for  the  ball,  the  appearance  of  a  dozen  gla- 
diators, striving  to  overcome  a  monster  serpent ;  and  then 
again,  as  one  man  would  secure  the  ball  and  start  for  the 
boundary  line  of  his  opponent,  the  races  which  ensued 
were  very  beautiful  and  exciting.  Wrestling  conflicts  also 
occurred  quite  frequently,  and  it  often  seemed  as  if  the 
players  would  break  every  bone  in  their  bodies  as  they 
threw  each  other  in  the  air,  or  dragged  each  other  over 
the  ground  ;  and  many  of  the  leaps,  which  single  individu- 
als performed,  were  really  superb.  The  exercise  was  of  a 
character  that  would  kill  the  majority  of  white  men.  The 
game  lasted  for  about  two  hours,  and  the  moment  it  was 
finished  the  entire  body  of  players,  while  yet  panting 
with  excessive  fatigue,  made  a  rush  for  the  neighboring 
river,  and  in  a  short  time  appeared  on  the  plain  in  their 
usual  garb,  and  the  old  chief  who  had  held  the  stakes  award- 
ed the  prizes  to  the  winning  party.  A  short  time  after- 
wards the  boys  stripped  themselves,  and  went  through 
the  same  routine  of  playing  as  already  described,  when 
the  ball-playing  was  at  an  end,  and  the  people  began 
to  disperse  with  a  view  of  getting  ready  for  the  evening 

I  employed  the  intervening  time  by  going  home  with 


one  of  the  chiefs,  and  eating  a  comfortable  supper  in  his 
log  cabin.  The  habitation  of  this  chief  was  made  of  hewn 
logs,  and  occupied  a  farm  of  twenty  acres  on  the  mountain 
side,  about  one-fourth  of  which  was  in  a  state  of  cultiva- 
tion, and  planted  with  corn  and  potatoes.  He  had  a  tidy 
wife  and  several  children,  and  his  stock  consisted  of  a  pony, 
a  cow,  and  some  ten  or  a  dozen  sheep.  At  nine  o'clock,  I 
was  again  in  the  midst  of  a  crowd  of  Indians,  assembled 
at  the  court-house  of  the  town.  The  edifice,  so  called,  is 
built  of  hewn  logs,  very  large  and  circular,  without  any 
floor  but  that  of  soHd  earth,  and  without  any  seats  but  one 
short  bench  intended  for  the  great  men  of  the  nation.  In 
the  centre  of  this  lodge  was  a  large  fire,  and  the  number  of 
persons  who  figured  in  the  several  dances  of  the  evening, 
was  perhaps  two  hundred,  all  fantastically  dressed,  and  in- 
cluding men,  women,  and  boys.  Each  dancer  made  his 
own  music,  and,  with  one  exception,  the  dances  were  of 
the  common  Indian  sort.  The  exception  alluded  to  was 
particularly  fantastic,  and  called  "  the  Pilgrim  Dance." 
They  came  in  with  packs  on  their  backs,  with  their  faces 
strangely  painted,  and  with  gourds  hanging  at  their  sides, 
and  the  idea  seemed  to  be  to  represent  their  hospitality  to- 
wards all  strangers  who  visited  them  from  distant  lands. 
The  dancing  continued  until  midnight,  when  the  presiding 
chief  addressed  the  multitude  on  the  subject  of  their  duties 
as  intelligent  beings,  and  told  them  to  return  to  their  several 
homes  and  resume  their  labors  in  the  field  and  in  the  shops. 
He  concluded  by  remarking  that  he  hoped  I  was  pleased 
with  what  I  had  witnessed,  and  trusted  that  nothing  had 
happened  which  would  make  the  wise  men  of  my  country 
in  the  East  think  less  of  the  poor  Indian  than  they  did  at 
the  present  time  :  and  he  then  added  that,  according  to  an 


anc  ient  custom,  as  I  was  a  stranger  they  liked,  the  several 
chi  efs  had  given  me  a  name,  by  which  I  should  hereafter 
be  remembered  among  the  Carolina  Cherokees,  and  that 
name  was  Ga-taw-hough  No-que-sih,  or  The  Wandering 


QuALLA  Town,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 

In  the  present  letter  I  purpose  to  give  you  a  brief  his- 
torical account  of  certain  celebrated  Cherokee  Indians,  who 
are  deservedly  considered  as  among  the  bright  particular 
stars  of  their  nation.  Some  of  them  are  dead,  and  some 
still  living,  but  they  w^ere  all  born  in  this  mountain  land, 
and  it  is  meet  that  I  should  avv^ard  to  each  a  "  passing  par- 
agraph of  praise." 

The  first  individual  that  I  w^ould  mention  is  Yo-na-gus- 
ka,  or  the  Drowning  Bear.  He  w^as  the  principal  chief 
of  the  Qualla  Indians,  and  died  in  the  year  1838,  in  the 
seventy-fifth  year  of  his  age.  When  the  Cherokees  w^ere 
invited  to  remove  west  of  the  Mississippi  in  1809,  he  peti- 
tioned President  Jefferson  that  he  might  be  permitted  to 
remain  with  his  followers,  among  his  native  mountains,  and 
his  prayer  was  granted.  He  was  eminently  a  peace  chief, 
but  obstinately  declined  every  invitation  of  the  Government 
to  emigrate,  and  would  probably  have  shed  his  blood  and 
that  of  all  his  warriors  in  defending  his  rights.  When  about 
sixty  years  of  age  he  had  a  severe  fit  of  sickness,  which 
terminated  in  a  trance  ;  this  apparent  suspension  of  all  his 
faculties  lasted  about  twenty-four  hours,  during  which  pe- 
riod he  was  supposed  to  be  dead.  It  so  happened,  however, 
that  he  recovered,  and  on  resuming  his  speech,  told  his  at- 


tendants  that  he  had  been  to  the  spirit  land,  and  held  com- 
munion with  his  friends  who  had  been  long  dead,  that  they 
were  all  very  happy.  He  also  stated  that  he  had  seen  many 
white  men,  and  that  some  of  them  appeared  to  be  unhappy. 
The  Great  Spirit  talked  with  him,  and  told  him  his  time 
was  not  yet  come  to  leave  the  w^orld ;  that  he  had  been  a 
good  and  honest  man,  and  that  he  must  return  to  his  peo- 
ple, and  govern  them  with  great  care  and  affection,  so  that 
he  might  finally  come  and  live  with  the  Great  Spirit  for 

Subsequently  to  that  time  his  people  gave  him  a  new 
name,  which  was  Yon-na-yous-ta,  or  How  like  an  Indian. 
He  governed  his  people  like  a  father,  and  was  universally 
beloved.  It  was  at  his  suggestion  that  Mr.  Thomas  was 
adopted  into  the  Cherokee  nation ;  the  prominent  reasons 
assigned  for  such  a  desire  on  his  part  being  that  Thomas 
had  proved  himself  to  be  the  Indian's  friend,  and  was  alone 
in  the  world,  having  no  father  or  brother.  Mr.  Thomas 
exerted  a  great  influence  over  him,  and  among  the  mea- 
sures which  the  former  recommended  was  the  adoption  of 
a  temperance  society  for  the  improvement  of  himself  and 
people,  who  were  all  addicted  to  the  intoxicating  bowl. 
He  was  a  true  patriot  at  heart,  and  on  being  reasoned  into 
a  correct  state  of  mind,  he  expressed  his  determination  to 
create  a  reform.  He  first  reformed  himself,  and  then  sum- 
moned a  council  of  all  his  people,  ostensibly  but  secretly, 
for  the  purpose  of  establishing  a  temperance  society.  At 
this  council  he  made  a  speech  to  the  effect  that  they  knew 
he  had  been  an  intemperate  man,  and  had  discouraged  the 
use  of  strong  drink,  which  he  was  confident  was  rapidly 
annihilating  his  nation ;  he  expected  to  be  with  his  people 
but  a  short  time,  and  to  extricate  them  from  the  great  evil 


he  had  mentioned  was  the  real  purpose  of  the  Great  Sph'it 
in  prolonging  his  life ;  he  also  spoke  of  the  many  evils  to 
families  and  individuals  resulting  from  intemperance ;  and 
when  he  concluded,  it  is  said  that  his  entire  audience  were 
in  tears.  Taking  advantage  of  this  triumph,  he  called  his 
scribe,  (for  he  himself  was  an  illiterate  man,)  and  requested 
him  to  write  these  words  upon  a  sheet  of  paper  :  '•'  The 
undersigned  drink  no  more  whiskey;"  to  which  pledge  he 
requested  that  his  name  should  be  attached.  Every  mem- 
ber of  the  council  appended  his  name  to  the  paper,  and 
thus  was  established  the  first  temperance  society  among 
the  Cherokees,  which  has  already  accomplished  wonders. 
Among  the  regulations  which  he  afterwards  proclaimed, 
was  one  that  each  Indian  should  pay  a  fine  of  two  shilhngs 
for  every  offence  committed  in  breaking  the  pledge,  and 
that  the  money  thus  collected  should  be  expended  in  ex- 
tending the  boundaries  of  their  territory.  And  here  it  may 
be  well  to  mention  the  fact,  that  though  this  "  father  of 
temperance  "  among  the  Indians  had  been  extremely  dissi- 
pated during  a  period  of  thirty  years,  he  was  never  known, 
even  in  the  way  of  medicine,  to  touch  a  drop  of  spirits  after 
his  first  temperance  speech. 

The  reputation  of  Yo-na-gus-ka  as  an  orator  was  co- 
extensive with  his  entire  nation.  He  not  only  understood 
the  art  of  working  upon  the  feelings  and  clothing  his 
thoughts  in  the  most  appropriate  imagery,  but  the  thoughts 
themselves  were  invariably  sound,  and  his  arguments  un- 
answerable. From  many  examples  of  his  reasoning  I  se- 
lect one.  When  once  invited  by  the  officers  of  Government 
to  remove  westward,  even  after  he  and  his  people  had  be- 
come citizenized,  he  was  informed  that  in  the  West  he 
would  have  an  abundance  of  the  most  fertile  land,  with 


plenty  of  game  ;  also  a  government  of  his  own  ;  that  he 
would  be  undisturbed  by  the  whites,  and  that  the  United 
States  Government  would  ever  protect  him  from  future 
molestation.  In  replying  to  this  invitation,  as  he  stood  in 
the  midst  of  armed  soldiers,  he  remarked  in  substance  as 
follows :  '- 1  am  an  old  man,  and  have  counted  the  snows 
of  almost  eighty  winters.  My  hair,  which  is  now  very 
white,  was  once  like  the  raven's  wing.  I  can  remember 
when  the  white  man  had  not  seen  the  smoke  of  our  cabins 
westward  of  the  Blue  Rido;e,  and  I  have  watched  the  es- 
tablishment of  all  his  settlements,  even  to  the  Father  of 
Waters.  The  march  of  the  white  is  still  towards  the  set- 
ting sun,  and  I  know  that  he  will  never  be  satisfied  until  he 
reaches  the  shore  of  the  great  water.  It  is  foolish  in  you 
to  tell  me  that  the  whites  will  not  trouble  the  poor  Chero- 
kee in  the  Western  country.  The  white  man's  nature  and 
the  Indian's  fate  tell  a  different  story.  Sooner  or  later  one 
Government  must  cover  the  whole  continent,  and  the  red 
people,  if  not  scattered  among  the  autumn  leaves,  will  be- 
come a  part  of  the  American  nation.  As  to  the  white 
man's  promises  of  protection,  they  have  been  too  often 
broken  ;  they  are  like  the  reeds  in  yonder  river — they  are 
all  lies.  North  Carolina  had  acknowledged  our  title  to 
these  lands,  and  the  United  States  had  guarantied  that 
title  ;  but  all  this  did  not  prevent  the  Government  from 
taking  aw^ay  our  lands  by  force  ;  and,  not  only  that,  but 
sold  the  very  cow  of  the  poor  Indian  and  his  gun,  so  as  to 
compel  him  to  leave  his  country.  Is  this  what  the  white 
man  calls  justice  and  protection  ?  No,  we  will  not  go  to 
the  West.  We  wanted  to  become  the  children  of  North 
Carolina,  and  she  has  received  us  as  such,  and  passed  a  law 
for  our  protection,  and  we  will  continue  to  raise  our  com 


in  this  very  land.  The  people  of  Carolina  have  always 
been  very  kind  to  us,  and  we  know  they  will  never  oppress 
us.  You  say  the  land  in  the  West  is  much  better  than  it 
is  here.  That  very  fact  is  an  argument  on  our  side.  The 
white  man  must  have  rich  land  to  do  his  great  business, 
but  the  Indian  can  be  happy  with  poorer  land.  The  white 
man  must  have  a  flat  country  for  his  plough  to  run  easy, 
but  we  can  get  along  even  among  the  rocks  on  the  moun- 
tains. We  never  shall  do  what  you  want  us  to  do.  I  don't 
like  you  for  your  pretended  kindness.  I  always  advise  my 
people  to  keep  their  backs  for  ever  turned  towards  the  set- 
ting sun,  and  never  to  leave  the  land  of  their  fathers.  I 
tell  them  they  must  live  like  good  citizens  ;  never  forget  the 
kindness  of  North  Carolina,  and  always  be  ready  to  help 
her  in  time  of  war.     I  have  nothing  more  to  say." 

When  Yo-na-gus-ka  was  about  to  die,  he  summoned  his 
chiefs  and  warriors  by  his  bed-side,  and  talked  to  them  at 
great  length  upon  the  importance  of  temperance,  and  in 
opposition  to  the  idea  of  their  emigrating  to  the  West,  and 
made  them  swear  that  they  would  never  abandon  the  graves 
of  their  fathers,  or  his  own  grave,  which  is  now  marked  by 
a  pile  of  stones  on  the  margin  of  the  Soco.  In  personal  ap- 
pearance he  was  very  handsome,  and  left  two  wives.  He 
was  the  owner  of  considerable  property,  and  among  his 
possessions  ^vas  an  old  negro  named  Cudjo.  This  man  is 
now  living,  and  on  questioning  him  about  his  former  mas- 
ter he  replied  :  "  If  Yo-na-gus-ka  had  had  larning,  I  b'lieve 
he'd  been  a  very  great  man.  He  never  allowed  himself  to 
be  called  master,  for  he  said  Cudjo  was  his  brother,  and  not 
his  slave.  He  was  a  great  friend  o'  mine,  and  when  he 
died,  I  felt  as  if  I  didn't  care  about  living  any  longer  my- 
self; but  Yo-na-gus-ka  is  gone,  and  poor  old  Cudjo  is  still 
alive  and  well." 


The  second  character  that  I  will  introduce  to  my  read- 
ers is  now  living  in  Qualla  Town.  His  name  is  Salola,  or 
the  Squirrel.  He  is  quite  a  young  man,  and  has  a  remark- 
ably thoughtful  face.  He  is  the  blacksmith  of  his  nation, 
and  with  some  assistance  supplies  the  whole  of  Qualla 
Town  with  all  their  axes  and  ploughs  ;  but  what  is  more, 
he  has  manufactured  a  number  of  very  superior  rifles  and 
pistols,  including  stock,  barrel,  and  lock  ;  and  he  is  also  the 
builder  of  grist-mills,  which  grind  all  the  corn  which  his 
people  eat.  A  specimen  of  his  workmanship,  in  the  way 
of  a  rifle,  may  be  seen  at  the  Patent-Office,  in  Washington, 
where  it  was  deposited  by  Mr.  Thomas  ;  and  I  believe  Sa- 
lola is  the  first  Indian  who  ever  manufactured  an  entire 
gun.  But,  when  it  is  remembered  that  he  never  received 
a  particle  of  education  in  any  of  the  mechanic  arts,  but  is 
entirely  self-taught,  his  attainments  must  be  considered  truly 

That  he  labors  under  every  disadvantage  in  his  most 
worthy  calling,  may  be  show  by  the  fact  that  he  uses  a 
flint-stone  for  an  anvil,  and  a  uater-hlast  for  a  bellows.  In 
every  particular  he  is  a  most  worthy  man,  and  though  una- 
ble to  speak  the  English  tongue,  is  a  very  good  scholar  in 
his  own  language.  He  is  the  husband  of  a  Catawba  wo- 
man, whom  he  married  before  he  could  speak  one  word  of 
her  own  tongue,  or  she  could  speak  Cherokee  ;  but  they  have 
now  established  a  language  of  their  own,  by  which  they  get 
along  very  well.  Salola,  upon  the  whole,  is  an  honor  to  the 
country,  and  one  whose  services  in  some  iron  or  steel  estab- 
lishment of  the  eastern  cities  would  be  of  great  value.  Is 
there  not  some  gentleman  in  Philadelphia  or  New- York 
who  would  take  pleasure  in  patronizing  this  mechanical 
prodigy  of  the  wilderness  ? 


Another  of  the  characters  I  intended  to  mention  is 
named  Euchella.  He  is  a  very  worthy  chief,  and  now  in 
the  afternoon  of  his  days.  He  is  quite  celebrated  among 
his  people  as  a  warrior,  but  is  principally  famous  for  im- 
portant services  rendered  by  him  to  the  United  States 
Government  during  the  Cherokee  troubles.  He,  and  a 
band  of  one  hundred  followers,  first  attracted  public  atten- 
tion by  evading,  for  upwards  of  a  whole  year,  the  officers 
of  Government  who  had  been  commanded  to  remove  the 
party  beyond  the  Mississippi.  It  having  been  ascertained, 
however,  that  Euchella  could  not  easily  be  captured,  and 
would  never  submit  to  leave  his  country,  it  was  determined 
that  an  overture  should  be  made,  by  which  he  and  his 
brotherhood  of  warriors  could  be  secured  to  assist  the 
whites  in  their  troublesome  efforts  to  capture  three  Indians 
who  had  murdered  a  number  of  soldiers.  The  instrument 
employed  to  effect  a  reconciliation  was  the  Indian  trader, 
Mr.  Thomas,  who  succeeded  in  appointing  a  meeting  with 
Euchella  on  a  remote  m  )untain-top. 

During  this  interview  ,  Mr.  Thomas  remonstrated  with 
Euchella,  and  told  him  that,  if  he  would  join  the  whites,  he 
might  remain  in  Carolina,  and  be  at  peace.  "I  cannot  be 
at  peace,"  replied  the  warrior,  "because  it  is  now  a  whole 
year  that  your  soldiers  have  hunted  me  like  a  wild  deer.  I 
have  suffered  from  the  white  man  more  than  I  can  bear.  I 
had  a  wife  and  a  little  child — a  brave,  bright-eyed  boy — 
and  because  I  would  not  become  your  slave,  they  were  left 
to  starve  upon  the  mountains.  Yes ;  and  I  buried  them 
with  my  own  hand,  at  midnight.  For  a  whole  week  at  a 
time  have  I  been  without  bread  myself,  and  this  in  my  own 
country  too.  I  cannot  bear  to  think  upon  my  wrongs,  and 
I  scorn  your  proposition."     It  so  happened,  however,  that 


he  partially  relented,  and  having  submitted  the  proposition 
to  his  warriors,  whom  he  summoned  to  his  side  by  a  whoop, 
they  agreed  to  accept  it,  and  from  that  time  Euchella  be- 
came an  ally  of  the  army.  It  was  by  the  efforts  of  Eu- 
chella and  his  band  that  the  murderers  already  mentioned 
were  arrested  and  punished.  They  had  been  condemned 
by  a  court  martial,  and  sentenced  to  be  shot,  and  the  scorn 
of  death  manifested  by  one  of  them,  named  Charlej^  is 
worth  recording.  He  had  been  given  into  the  hands  of 
Euchella,  and  when  he  was  tied  to  the  tree,,  by  one  arm, 
w^here  he  was  to  die,  (to  which  confinement  he  submitted 
without  a  murmur,)  he  asked  permission  to  make  a  few  re- 
marks, which  was  of  course  granted,  and  he  spoke  as  fol- 
lows :  "  And  is  it  by  your  hands,  Euchella,  that  I  am  to 
die  ?  We  have  been  brothers  together ;  but  Euchella  has 
promised  to  be  the  white  man's  friend,  and  he  must  do  his 
duty,  and  poor  Charley  is  to  suffer  because  he  loved  his 
country.  O,  Euchella !  if  the  Cherokee  people  now  beyond 
the  Mississippi  carried  my  heart  in  their  bosoms,  they  never 
would  have  left  their  beautiful  native  land — their  own  moun- 
tain land.  I  am  not  afraid  to  die  ;  O,  no,  I  want  to  die,  for 
my  heart  is  very  heavy,  heavier  than  lead.  But,  Euchella, 
there  is  one  favor  that  I  would  ask  at  your  hands.  You 
know  that  I  had  a  little  boy,  who  was  lost  among  the  moun- 
tains. I  want  you  to  find  that  boy,  if  he  is  not  dead,  and 
tell  him  that  the  last  words  of  his  father  were  that  he  must 
never  go  beyond  the  Father  of  Waters,  but  die  in  the  land 
of  his  birth.  It  is  sweet  to  die  in  one's  own  country,  and 
to  be  buried  by  the  margin  of  one's  native  stream."  After 
the  bandage  had  been  placed  over  his  eyes,  a  little  delay 
occurred  in  the  order  of  execution,  when  Charley  gently 
raised  the  bandage,  and  saw  a  dozen  of  Euchella's  warriors 


in  the  very  act  of  firing ;  he  then  replaced  the  cloth,  with- 
out manifesting  the  least  anxiety  or  moving  a  muscle,  and  in 
a  moment  more  the  poor  savage  was  weltering  in  his  blood. 
And  so  did  all  three  of  the  murderers  perish. 

Another  name,  famous  in  the  unwritten  annals  of  Chero- 
kee history,  is  that  of  an  Indian  named  Guess,  who  was  the 
inventor  of  the  Cherokee  alphabet.  This  alphabet  contains 
eighty-six  characters,  each  one  of  which  represents  a  dis- 
tinct sound.  It  can  be  acquired,  by  an  apt  scholar,  in  the 
course  of  ten  days,  and  is  now  the  foundation  of  the  Chero- 
kee literature.     Guess  died  at  the  West  in  the  year  1842. 

The  individual  who  translated  the  New  Testament  was 
an  educated  Indian,  named  Elias  Boudinot,  who  lost  his 
life  by  the  hand  of  an  Indian  assassin.  At  the  time  of  his 
death  he  was  engaged  upon  a  translation  of  the  Bible,  and 
was  cut  down  in  the  midst  of  his  usefulness,  in  1839,  merely 
because  he  had  the  fearlessness  and  the  honesty  to  disagree 
with  a  majority  of  the  Arkansas  Cherokees  in  regard  to  a 
certain  treaty.  John  Ridge,  also  an  educated  Indian,  and 
his  father,  Major  Ridge,  were  brave  and  honorable  men, 
who  were  the  friends  of  Boudinot,  and  like  him  perished 
by  the  hands  of  assassins,  at  the  same  time  and  for  the 
same  cause.  The  elder  Ridge  acted  a  conspicuous  part  in 
the  battle  of  the  Horse-Shoe,  in  the  Creek  war ;  while  the 
younger  Ridge  was  mainly  distinguished  for  his  intelligence 
and  the  happy  influence  of  his  life  and  good  works. 


AsHviLLE,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 
The  distance  from  Qualla  Town  to  this,  place  is  sixty 
nniles.  The  first  half  of  the  route  is  exceedingly  mountain- 
ous and  almost  entirely  uncultivated,  but  the  valley  of  Pigeon 
river,  down  v^^hich  you  have  to  travel  for  a  considerable  dis- 
tance, is  very  fertile  and  v^ell  cultivated.  A  pastoral  charm 
seems  to  rest  upon  the  scenery,  and  in  this  particular  forci- 
bly reminded  me  of  the  upper  valley  of  the  Mohav^k.  I 
occupied  the  most  of  tw^o  days  in  performing  this  trip,  and 
the  only  incident  that  I  met  with  which  was  at  all  unique, 
was  upon  this  wise.  I  had  stopped  at  a  farm-house  to  take 
my  dinner.  It  so  happened  that  my  host  was  about  to  erect 
a  new  barn,  and  some  twenty  of  his  neighbors  were  assem- 
bled for  the  purpose  of  raising  the  framework  to  its  proper 
position.  An  abundance  of  whiskey  had  already  been  im- 
bibed by  a  few  of  this  rustic  company,  and  among  these  was 
one  individual  who  had  recently  been  grossly  cheated  in  pur- 
chasing a  horse  from  a  Tennessee  horse-dealer.  He  had 
given  a  mule  and  twenty  dollars  for  the  stranger's  gelding, 
and,  though  the  animal  was  quite  respectable  in  appearance, 
it  had  turned  out  to  be  old,  unsound,  and  almost  without  a 
redeeming  quality.  The  individual  in  question  was  noted 
for  making  a  fool  of  himself  when  intoxicated,  and  on  this 
occasion  he  was  determined  to  prove  true  to  himself.     At 


this  time  his  horse  speculation  seemed  to  weigh  heavily 
upon  his  mind,  and  in  his  vehement  remarks  he  took  par- 
ticular pains  to  curse  the  entire  State  of  Tennessee,  in- 
cluding President  Polk.  The  poor  man  finally  became  so 
completely  excited  that  he  swore  he  would  whip  the  first 
man  he  met  on  the  road  who  happened  to  be  from  Tennes- 
see ;  and  so  the  matter  rested.  In  about  thirty  minutes 
thereafter,  as  fortune  would  have  it,  a  man  made  his  ap- 
pearance on  the  road,  apparently  from  the  West ;  and  in 
jeering  their  noisy  companion,  the  farmers  remarked  that 
"now  he  would  have  a  chance  to  revenge  himself"  The 
excitement  of  the  horse-bitten  speculator  was  consequently 
greatly  increased,  and  when  the  stranger  reached  the  hill- 
top he  was  accosted  as  follows  : 

"May  I  ask  you,  sir,  if  you  come  from  Tennessee?" 
"  I  do.  What  will  you  have  ?"  replied  the  stranger. 
The  Carolinian  then  related  his  trading  story,  which  he 
concluded  by  carefully  reiterating  the  determination  he  had 
made.  The  stranger  laughed  at  the  idea,  and  was  about  to 
resume  his  journey,  when  the  reins  of  his  horse  were  seized, 
and  he  found  that  it  was  indeed  necessary  for  him  to  fight 
his  way  out  of  the  queer  scrape.  All  remonstrance  on  his 
part  was  in  vain ;  but  at  the  very  moment  the  fight  was  to 
commence,  another  horseman  rode  up,  who  was  also  inter- 
rogated as  to  his  native  State.  His  presence  had  a  ten- 
dency to  suspend  hostilities  ;  but  when  it  was  ascertained 
that  he  was  only  a  Kentuckian,  the  Carolinian  insisted  upon 
going  on  with  his  business.  The  feelings  of  the  Kentuckian 
were  now  enlisted,  and  he  declared  his  intention  of  regu- 
lating the  fight;  whereupon  he  made  a  large  ring,  and  taking 
out  of  his  pocket  a  couple  of  pistols,  he  told  the  combatants 
"  to  go  ahead,"  and  at  the  same  time  warned  the  bystand- 


ers  that  he  would  shoot  the  first  man  that  interfered.  The 
conclusion  of  the  whole  matter  was,  that  the  intoxicated 
man  received  a  cruel  thrashing  for  his  ridiculous  conduct, 
and  the  two  gentlemen  from  the  West  quietly  resumed  their 
several  journeys. 

On  my  way  to  this  place,  I  stopped  for  a  few  hours  at 
Deaver's  Sulphur  Springs,  which  are  about  four  miles  from 
the  French  Broad  river,  on  the  road  to  Clarksville,  Georgia. 
This  is  one  of  the  most  popular  watering-places  in  the 
South,  not  only  on  account  of  the  medicinal  qualities  of  the 
water,  but  on  account  of  the  surrounding  scenery,  which  is 
remarkably  interesting,  and  also  for  the  additional  reason 
that  the  style  in  which  people  are  entertained  is  well  wor- 
thy of  even  such  places  as  Saratoga.  The  several  build- 
ings connected  with  the  establishment  usually  accommodate 
about  two  hundred  families  during  the  summer  months,  and 
they  are  chiefly  from  the  cities  of  Charleston  and  Savannah. 
The  people  of  Eastern  North  Carolina  do  not  seem  to  know 
that  they  have  such  a  delightful  retreat  within  their  borders^ 
which,  to  a  man  of  genuine  taste,  is  as  far  ahead  of  Sara- 
toga as  a  mountain  stream  is  ahead  of  a  canal. 

With  regard  to  Ashville,  I  can  only  say  that  it  is  a  very 
busy  and  pleasant  village,  filled  with  intelligent  and  hospi- 
table inhabitants,  and  is  the  centre  of  a  mountain  land, 
where  Nature  has  been  extremely  liberal  and  tasteful  in 
piling  up  her  mighty  bulwarks  for  the  admiration  of  man. 
Indeed,  from  the  summit  of  a  hill  immediately  in  the  vi- 
cinity of  the  village,  I  had  a  southwestern  view  which 
struck  me  as  eminently  superb.  It  was  near  the  sunset 
hour,  and  the  sky  was  flooded  with  a  golden  glow,  which 
gave  a  living  beauty  to  at  least  a  hundred  mountain  peaks, 
from  the  centre  of  which  loomed  high  towards  the  zenith 


Mount  Pisgah  and  the  Cold  Mountain,  richly  clothed  in 
purple,  which  are  from  twenty  to  thirty  miles  distant,  and 
not  far  from  six  thousand  feet  in  height.  The  middle  dis- 
tance, though  in  reality  composed  of  wood-crowned  hills, 
presented  the  appearance  of  a  level  plain  or  valley,  where 
columns  of  blue  smoke  were  gracefully  floating  into  the  up- 
per air,  and  whence  came  the  occasional  tinkle  of  a  bell,  as 
the  cattle  wended  their  way  homeward,  after  roaming  among 
the  unfenced  hills.  Directly  at  my  feet  lay  the  little 
town  of  Ashville,  like  an  oddly-shaped  figure  on  a  green 
carpet ;  and  over  the  whole  scene  dwelt  a  spirit  of  repose, 
which  seemed  to  quiet  even  the  comm.on  throbbings  of  the 

My  first  expedition  on  arriving  here  was  to  a  gorge  in 
the  Blue  Ridge  called  the  Hickory  Nut  Gap.  How  it 
came  by  that  name  1  cannot  imagine,  since  the  forests  in 
this  particular  region,  so  far  as  I  could  ascertain,  are  almost 
entirely  destitute  of  the  hickory  tree.  It  is  true  that  for  a 
distance  of  four  miles  the  gorge  is  watered  by  a  brook 
called  after  the  hickory  nut,  but  I  take  it  that  this  name  is 
a  borrowed  one.  The  entire  length  of  the  gap  is  about 
nine  miles,  and  the  last  five  miles  are  watered  by  the  Rocky 
Broad  River.  The  upper  part  of  this  stream  runs  between 
the  Blue  Ridge  proper  and  a  spur  of  the  Blue  Ridge,  and 
at  the  point  where  it  forces  a  channel  through  the  spur  its 
bed  is  exceedingly  rocky,  and  on  either  hand,  until  it 
reaches  the  middle  country  of  the  State,  it  is  protected  by 
a  series  of  mountain  blufis.  That  portion  of  the  gorge 
which  might  be  called  the  gateway  is  at  the  eastern  ex- 
tremity. From  any  point  of  view  this  particular  spot  is 
remarkably  imposing,  the  gap  being  not  more  than  half  a 
mile  wide,  though  appearing  to  narrow  down  to  a  few  bun- 


dred  yards.  The  highest  bluff  is  on  the  south  side,  and, 
though  rising  to  the  height  of  full  twenty-five  hundred  feet, 
it  is  nearly  perpendicular,  and  midway  up  its  front  stands 
an  isolated  rock,  looming  against  the  sky,  which  is  of  a  cir- 
cular form,  and  resembles  the  principal  turret  of  a  stupen- 
dous castle.  The  entire  mountain  is  composed  of  granite, 
and  a  large  proportion  of  the  bluff  in  question  positively 
hangs  over  the  abyss  beneath,  and  is  as  smooth  as  it  could 
possibly  be  made  by  the  rains  of  uncounted  centuries. 
Over  one  portion  of  this  superb  cliff,  falling  far  down 
into  some  undiscovered  and  apparently  unattainable  pool, 
is  a  stream  of  water,  which  seems  to  be  the  offspring  of 
the  clouds  ;  and  in  a  neighboring  brook  near  the  base  of 
this  precipice  are  three  shooting  waterfalls,  at  the  foot  of 
which,  formed  out  of  the  solid  stone,  are  three  holes,  which 
are  about  ten  feet  in  diameter  and  measure  from  forty  to 
fifty  feet  in  depth.  But,  leaving  these  remarkable  features 
entirely  out  of  the  question,  the  mountain  scenery  in  this 
vicinity  is  as  beautiful  and  fantastic  as  any  1  have  yet  wit- 
nessed among  the  Alleghanies.  At  a  farm-house  near  the 
gap,  where  I  spent  a  night,  I  had  the  pleasure  of  meeting 
an  English  gentleman  and  tourist,  and  he  informed  me  that, 
though  he  had  crossed  the  Alps  in  a  number  of  places,  yet 
he  had  never  seen  any  mountain  scenery  which  he  thought 
as  beautiful  as  that  of  the  Hickory  Nut  Gap.  My  best 
view  of  the  gorge  was  from  the  eastward,  and  just  as  the 
sun,  with  a  magnificent  retinue  of  clouds,  was  sinking  di- 
rectly in  the  hollow  of  the  hills,  and  as  I  gazed  upon  the 
prospect,  it  seemed  to  me,  as  was  in  reality  the  case,  that  I 
stood  at  the  very  threshold  of  an  almost  boundless  wilder- 
ness of  mountains. 

Before  visiting  this   remarkable   passage   through  the 


mountains,  I  endea,vored  to  ascertain,  from  the  Cherokees 
of  Qualla  Town,  its  original  Indian  name,  but  without  suc- 
ceeding. It  was  my  good  fortune,  however,  to  obtain  a 
romantic  legend  connected  therewith.  I  heard  it  from  the 
lips  of  a  Chief  who  glories  in  the  two  names  of  All  Bones 
and  Flying  Squirrel,  and,  though  he  occupied  no  less  than 
two  hours  in  telHng  the  story,  I  will  endeavor  to  give  it  to 
my  readers  in  about  five  minutes. 

There  was  a  time  when  the  Cherokees  were  without 
the  famous  Tso-lungh,  or  tobacco  weed,  with  which  they 
had  previously  been  made  acquainted  by  a  wandering 
stranger  from  the  far  East.  Having  smoked  it  in  their 
large  stone  pipes,  they  became  impatient  to  obtain  it  in 
abundance.  They  ascertained  that  the  country  where  it 
grew  in  the  greatest  quantities  w^as  situated  on  the  big 
waters,  and  that  the  gateway  to  that  country  (a  mighty 
gorge  among  the  mountains)  was  perpetually  guarded  by 
an  immense  number  of  little  people  or  spirits.  A  council 
of  the  bravest  men  in  the  nation  was  called,  and,  while 
they  were  discussing  the  dangers  of  visiting  the  unknown 
country,  and  bringing  therefrom  a  large  knapsack  of  the 
fragrant  tobacco,  a  young  man  stepped  boldly  forward  and 
said  that  he  would  undertake  the  task.  The  young  warrior 
departed  on  his  mission  and  never  returned.  The  Chero- 
kee nation  were  now  in  great  tribulation,  and  another 
council  was  held  to  decide  upon  a  new  measure.  At  this 
council  a  celebrated  magician  rose  and  expressed  his  wil- 
lingness to  relieve  his  people  of  their  difficulties,  and  in- 
formed them  that  he  would  visit  the  tobacco  country  and 
see  what  he  could  accomplish.  He  turned  himself  into  a 
mole,  and  as  such  made  his  appearance  eastward  of  the 
mountains ;    but,   having  been    pursued   by  the   guardian 


spirits,  he  was  compelled  to  return  without  any  spoil.  He 
next  turned  himself  into  a  humming-bird,  and  thus  suc- 
ceeded, to  a  very  limited  extent,  in  obtaining  what  he 
needed.  On  returning  to  his  country,  he  found  a  number 
of  his  friends  at  the  point  of  death,  on  account  of  their  in- 
tense desire  for  the  fragrant  weed ;  whereupon  he  placed 
some  of  it  in  a  pipe,  and,  having  blown  the  smoke  into  the 
nostrils  of  those  who  were  sick,  they  all  revived  and  were 
quite  happy.  The  magician  now  took  it  into  his  head  that 
he  would  revenge  the  loss  of  the  young  warrior,  and  at  the 
same  time  become  the  sole  posssessor  of  all  the  tobacco  in 
the  unknown  land.  He  therefore  turned  himself  into  a 
whirlwind,  and  in  passing  through  the  Hickory  Nut  Gorge 
he  stripped  the  mountains  of  their  vegetation,  and  scattered 
huge  rocks  in  every  part  of  the  narrow  valley ;  whereupon 
the  little  people  were  all  frightened  away,  and  he  was  the 
only  being  in  the  country  eastward  of  the  mountains.  In 
the  bed  of  a  stream  he  found  the  bones  of  the  young  war- 
rior, and  having  brought  them  to  life,  and  turned  himself 
into  a  man  again,  the  twain  returned  to  their  own  country 
heavily  laden  with  tobacco  ;  and  ever  since  that  time  it 
has  been  very  abundant  throughout  the  entire  land. 


AsHviLLE,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 
I  HAVE  just  returned  from  an  excursion  down  the  French 
Broad  River  to  Pattons  Warm  Springs,  and  the  neigh- 
boring curiosities,  and  I  now  purpose  to  describe  the  "  won- 
ders I  have  seen  "  The  original  Indian  name  of  the  French 
Broad  was  Pse-li-co,  the  meaning  of  which  I  have  not 
been  able  to  ascertain.  Its  English  name  was  derived  from 
a  famous  hunter  named  Freiich.  It  is  one  of  the  princi- 
pal tributaries  of  the  Tennessee,  about  one  hundred  miles 
long,  from  one  to  two  hundred  yards  wide,  and,  taking  its 
rise  in  the  Blue  Ridge  near  the  border  of  South  Carolina, 
runs  in  a  northwestern  direction.  Judging  of  the  whole, 
by  a  section  of  fifty  miles,  lying  westward  of  Ashville,  it 
must  be  considered  one  of  the  most  beautiful  rivers  in  this 
beautiful  land.  In  running  the  distance  above  mentioned 
it  has  a  fall  of  nearly  fifteen  hundred  feet,  and  its  bed  seems 
to  be  entirely  composed  of  solid  rock.  In  depth  it  varies 
from  five  to  fifteen  feet,  and,  generally  speaking,  is  quite 
clear,  abounding  in  a  great  variety  of  plebeian  fish.  Its 
shores  are  particularly  wild  and  rocky,  for  the  most  part 
nearly  perpendicular,  varying  from  one  to  four  hundred 
feet  in  height,  and,  though  usually  covered  with  vegetation, 
they  present  frequent  cliffs  of  granite,  freestone,  and  blue 
limestone,  which  actually  droop  over  the  rushing  waters 


and  present  a  most  imposing  appearance.  With  regard  to 
its  botanical  curiosities,  it  can  safely  be  said  that  a  more 
fruitful  and  interesting  valley  can  nowhere  be  found  in  the 
Union.  Here  we  have  not  only  every  variety  of  Ameri- 
can forest  trees,  but  bushes,  plants,  flowers,  and  vmes  in 
the  greatest  profusion,  and  of  the  most  vigorous  growth ; 
many  of  the  grape  vines,  which  weigh  down  the  mighty 
sycamore,  seem  to  be  long  enough,  and  strong  enough,  to 
link  together  a  hundred  ships  of  war.  When  it  is  remem- 
bered, too,  that  the  air  is  constantly  heavy  with  the  fra- 
grance of  flowers,  and  tremulous  with  the  perpetual  roar 
of  tlie  stream,  it  may  be  readily  imagined  that  a  ride  down 
the  French  Broad  is  a  unique  pleasure.  Back  of  the  river 
on  either  side  the  country  is  hilly  and  somewhat  culti- 
vated, but  its  immediate  valley  contains  nothing  that 
smacks  of  civilization  but  a  turnpike  road,  and  an  occa- 
sional tavern.  This  road  runs  directly  along  the  water's 
edge  nearly  the  entire  distance,  and,  on  account  of  the 
quantity  of  travel  which  passes  over  it,  is  kept  in  admirable 
repair.  It  is  the  principal  thoroughfare  between  Tennessee 
and  South  Carolina,  and  an  immense  number  of  cattle, 
horses,  and  hogs  are  annually  driven  over  it  to  the  seaboard 
markets.  Over  this  road  also  quite  a  large  amount  of 
merchandise  is  constantly  transported  for  the  merchants 
of  the  interior,  so  that  mammoth  wagons,  with  their  eight 
and  ten  horses,  and  their  half-civilized  teamsters,  are  as 
plenty  as  blackberries,  and  aflbrd  a  romantic  variety  to  the 

In  riding  down  the  French  Broad,  I  overtook  a  gentle- 
man on  horseback,  who  accompanied  me  about  twenty 
miles.  Immediately  after  the  first  salutation  was  passed, 
and  he  had  ascertained  that  I  was  from  the  eastward,  he 


questioned  me  with  regard  to  the  latest  news  from  China. 
I  was  surprised  at  the  question,  and  after  telHng  him 
I  had  none  to  communicate,  I  could  not  refrain  from  ask- 
ing him  what  was  the  secret  of  his  interest  in  that  remote 
Empire.  He  repHed  that  he  resided  on  the  French  Broad, 
and  was  a  dealer  in  ginseng.  I  had  heard  of  the  article 
before,  and  knew  that  it  was  found  in  abundance  through- 
out this  mountain  region.  My  friend  described  it  as  a 
beautiful  plant,  with  one  stem  and  some  twenty  leaves  at 
the  top,  and  growing  to  the  height  of  eighteen  inches. 
That  portion  of  it,  however,  which  is  prepared  for  market 
is  the  root.  The  Chinese  are  the  only  people  in  the  world 
who  make  any  use  of  it  whatever ;  but  with  them  it  has 
been  an  article  of  commerce  from  time  immemorial.  It  is 
said  to  be  associated  in  some  way  or  other  with  an  unex- 
plained superstition.  Formerly  it  was  obtained  exclusively 
from  Tartary,  and  the  Tartars  were  in  the  habit  of  saying 
that  they  could  never  find  it,  excepting  by  shooting  a  magic 
arrow,  which  invariably  fell  where  the  plant  was  abundant. 
It  is  not  thought  to  possess  any  valuable  medicinal  quality, 
and  only  has  the  effect  of  strengthening  the  sensual  appe- 
tite. It  is  used  in  the  same  manner  that  we  use  tobacco, 
and  to  the  tongue  it  is  an  agreeable  bitter.  It  has  been  an 
article  of  export  from  this  country  for  half  a  century,  and 
the  most  extensive  American  shippers  reside  in  Philadelphia. 
It  is  sold  for  about  sixty  cents  the  pound,  and  my  travelling 
companion  told  me  that  his  sales  amounted  to  about  forty 
thousand  dollars  per  annum.  What  an  idea !  that  even 
the  celestials  are  dependent  upon  the  United  States  for 
one  of  their  cherished  luxuries,  and  that  luxury  a  common 
unnoticed  plant  of  the  wilderness !  Ours  is,  indeed,  "  a 
great  country." 


I  come  now  to  speak  of  the  Warm  Springs,  which  are 
thirty- six  miles  from  Ashville,  and  within  six  of  the  Ten- 
nessee Hne.  Of  the  Springs  themselves  there  are  some  half 
dozen,  but  the  largest  is  covered  with  a  house,  and  divided 
into  two  equal  apartments,  either  one  of  which  is  suffi- 
ciently large  to  allow  of  a  swim.  The  temperature  of  the 
water  is  105  degrees,  and  it  is  a  singular  fact  that  rainy 
weather  has  a  tendency  to  increase  the  heat,  but  it  never 
varies  more  than  a  couple  of  degrees.  All  the  springs  are 
directly  on  the  southern  margin  of  the  French  Broad ;  the 
water  is  clear  as  crystal,  and  so  heavy  that  even  a  child 
may  be  thrown  into  it  with  Httle  danger  of  being  drowned. 
As  a  beverage  the  water  is  quite  palatable,  and  it  is  said 
that  some  people  can  drink  a  number  of  quarts  per  day, 
and  yet  experience  none  but  beneficial  effects.  The  dis- 
eases which  it  is  thought  to  cure  are  palsy,  rheumatism, 
and  cutaneous  affections  ;  but  they  are  of  no  avail  in  curing 
pulmonic  or  dropsical  affections.  The  Warm  Springs  are 
annually  visited  by  a  large  number  of  fashionable  and  sickly 
people  from  all  the  Southern  States,  and  the  proprietor  has 
comfortable  accommodations  for  two  hundred  and  fifty 
people.  His  principal  building  is  of  brick,  and  the  ball- 
room is  230  feet  long.  Music,  dancing,  flirting,  wine- 
drinking,  riding,  bathing,  fishing,  scenery-hunting,  bowling, 
and  reading,  are  all  practised  here  to  an  unlimited  extent ; 
but,  what  is  more  exciting  than  all  these  pleasures  put  to- 
gether, is  the  rare  sport  of  deer-hunting ;  and  hereby  "  hangs 
a  tale  "  to  which  1  must  devote  a  separate  paragraph. 

My  polite  landlord  had  intimated  his  intention  of  afford- 
ing me  a  little  sport,  and  immediately  after  a  twelve  o'clock 
dinner,  on  a  certain  day,  he  stepped  out  upon  his  piazza  and 
gave  two  or  three  blasts  with  a  small  horn,  the  result  of 


which  was,  that,  in  about  fifteen  minutes,  a  negro  mounted 
on  a  handsome  horse  made  his  appearance,  accompanied 
by  some  twenty  yelping  hounds.  The  horn  was  next 
handed  to  the  negro,  and  he  was  requested  to  go  to  a  cer- 
tain spot  on  the  mountains,  about  three  miles  off,  and  put 
the  dogs  out  after  a  deer.  Two  hours  having  elapsed,  the 
landlord,  his  son,  and  myself  each  took  a  rifle,  and,  after 
riding  some  three  miles  up  the  French  Broad,  we  stationed 
ourselves  at  different  points  for  the  purpose  of  welcoming 
the  deer,  which  was  expected  to  take  to  the  water  on  the 
opposite  side.  We  had  scarcely  been  ten  minutes  in  our 
hiding  places  before  the  loud  baying  of  the  hounds  was 
heard,  as  they  were  coming  down  one  of  the  mountain  ra- 
vines, and  in  another  instant  a  very  large  buck  (with  his 
horns  as  yet  only  about  a  foot  long)  plunged  into  the  rapid 
stream.  Instead  of  crossing  the  water,  however,  he  made 
his  way  directly  down  the  river,  now  swimming  and  now 
leaping,  with  the  entire  pack  of  hounds  directly  in  his 
foamy  wake.  It  was  evident  that  he  considered  himself 
hard  pressed,  and,  though  now  approaching  a  very  rocky 
fall  in  the  stream,  he  gave  himself  to  the  current  and  went 
over,  and  it  seemed  as  if  he  must  inevitably  perish.  But 
another  call  was  immediately  made  upon  our  sympathies,  for 
we  discovered  the  entire  pack  of  hounds  passing  into  the 
same  hell  of  waters.  We  remained  in  suspense,  however,  but 
a  few  moments,  for  we  saw  the  pursued  and  the  pursuers  all 
emerge  from  the  foam  entirely  unharmed,  and  still  strug- 
gling in  the  race.  Now  the  deer  took  to  an  island,  and 
then  to  another,  and  now  again  to  the  water,  and  away  did 
the  whole  pack  speed  down  the  river.  By  this  time  the 
buck  was  evidently  becoming  tired,  and  certain  of  being 
overtaken ;    and,  having  reached  a  shallow  place  in  the 


river,  he  turned  upon  the  dogs  and  stood  at  bay.  His 
movements  during  this  scene  were  indeed  superb,  and  I 
could  not  but  pity  the  noble  fellow's  condition.  His  suffer- 
ings, however,  were  of  short  duration,  for,  while  thus  stand- 
ing in  full  front  of  his  enemies,  the  landlord's  son  sent  a 
ball  through  his  heart  from  the  shore,  and  with  one  frightful 
leap  the  monarch  of  the  mountains  was  floating  in  a  crim- 
son pool.  The  mounted  negro  now  made  his  appearance, 
as  if  by  magic,  and,  having  waded  and  swam  his  horse  to 
the  dead  deer,  took  the  creature  in  tow,  brought  him  to 
the  land,  threw  him  upon  his  horse,  and  so  ended  the  after- 
noon deer-hunt. 

About  six  miles  from  the  Warm  Springs,  and  directly 
on  the  Tennessee  line,  are  located  a  brotherhood  of  perpen- 
dicular cliffs,  which  are  known  as  the  Painted  Rocks.  They 
are  of  limestone,  and  rise  from  the  margin  of  the  French 
Broad  to  the  height  of  two,  three  and  four  hundred  feet. 
They  are  of  a  yellowish  cast,  owing  to  the  drippings  of  a 
mineral  water,  and  in  form  as  irregular  and  fantastic  as  can 
well  be  imagined.  They  extend  along  the  river  nearly  a 
mile,  and  at  every  step  present  new  phases  of  beauty  and 
grandeur.  Taken  separately,  it  requires  but  a  trifling  effort 
of  the  fancy  to  find  among  them  towers,  ramparts  and 
moats,  steeples  and  domes  in  great  abundance ;  but  when 
taken  as  a  whole,  and  viewed  from  the  opposite  bank  of 
the  river,  they  present  the  appearance  of  a  once  magnifi- 
cent city  in  ruins.  Not  only  are  they  exceedingly  beauti- 
ful in  themselves,  but  the  surrounding  scenery  is  highly  at- 
tractive, for  the  mountains  seem  to  have  huddled  them- 
selves together  for  the  purpose  of  looking  down  upon  and 
admiring  the  winding  and  rapid  stream.  With  regard  to 
historical  and  legendary  associations,  the   Painted  Rocks 


are  singularly  barren  ;  in  this  particular,  however,  they  are 
like  the  entire  valley  of  the  French  Broad,  where  relics  of  a 
by-gone  people  are  few  and  far  between.  The  rugged  as- 
pect of  this  country  would  seem  to  imply  that  it  was  never 
regularly  inhabited  by  the  Indians,  but  was  their  hunting 
ground ;  and  what  would  appear  to  strengthen  this  idea  is 
the  fact  that  it  is,  even  at  the  present  day,  particularly  fa- 
mous for  its  game. 

On  the  day  that  I  returned  from  my  trip  down  the  French 
Broad  the  weather  was  quite  showery,  and  the  consequence 
was,  the  rain  was  occasionally  employed  as  an  apology  for 
stopping  and  enjoying  a  quiet  conversation  w4th  the  people 
on  the  road.  At  one  of  the  places  where  I  halted  there  was 
a  contest  going  on  between  two  Whigs  concerning  the 
talents  of  the  honorable  gentleman  who  represents  the  fa- 
mous county  of  Buncombe  in  Congress.  The  men  were 
both  strongly  attached  to  the  representative,  and  the  con- 
test consisted  in  their  efforts  to  excel  each  other  in  compli- 
menting their  friend,  and  the  climax  of  the  argument  seemed 
to  be  that  Mr.  Clingman  was  not  "  some  pumpkins,"  but 
"pumpkins."  The  strangeness  of  this  expression  attracted 
my  attention,  and  when  an  opportunity  offered  I  questioned 
the  successful  disputant  as  to  the  origin  and  meaning  of 
the  phrase  he  had  employed,  and  the  substance  of  his  reply 
I  might  give  you  if  it  was  of  a  nature  to  interest  the  reader. 
At  another  of  the  houses  where  I  tarried  for  an  hour,  it 
was  my  fortune  to  arrive  just  in  time  to  witness  the  con- 
clusion of  a  domestic  quarrel  between  a  young  husband 
and  his  wife.  On  subsequently  inquiring  into  the  history 
of  this  affectionate  couple,  I  obtained  the  following  parti- 
culars :  The  young  man  was  reported  to  be  a  very  weak- 
minded  individual,  and  ever  since  his  marriage  had  been 


exceedingly  jealous  of  his  wife,  who  (as  I  had  seen)  was 
quite  beautiful,  but  known  to  be  perfectly  true  to  her  hus- 
band. Jealousy,  however,  was  the  rage  of  the  man,  and 
he  was  constantly  uiaking  himself  very  ridiculous.  His 
wife  remonstrated,  but  at  the  same  time  appreciated  his 
folly,  and  acted  accordingly.  On  one  occasion  she  was 
politely  informed  by  her  husband  that  he  was  very  unhappy, 
and  intended  to  hang  himself  "  Very  well,"  replied  the 
wife,  "  I  hope  you  will  have  a  good  time."  The  husband 
was  desperate,  and  having  obtained  a  rope,  and  carefully 
adjusted  a  certain  stool,  he  slipped  the  former  over  his 
head,  and,  when  he  knew  that  his  wife  was  looking  on,  he 
swung  himself  to  a  cross-beam  of  his  cabin.  In  playing  his 
trick,  however,  he  unfortunately  kicked  over  the  stool, 
(which  he  had  placed  in  a  convenient  spot  for  future  use  in 
regaining  his  feet,)  and  was  well  nigh  losing  his  life  in  re- 
ality, but  was  saved  by  the  timely  assistance  of  his  wife. 
His  first  remark  on  being  cut  down  was,  "  Jane,  won't 
you  please  go  after  the  doctor :  I've  twisted  my  neck 

I  also  picked  up,  while  travelling  along  the  French 
Broad,  the  following  bit  of  history  connected  with  one  of 
the  handsomest  plantations  on  said  river.  About  forty 
years  ago  a  young  girl  and  her  brother  (who  was  a  mere 
boy)  found  themselves  in  this  portion  of  North  Carolina, 
strangers,  orphans,  friendless,  and  with  only  the  moneyed 
inheritance  of  one  hundred  and  fifty  dollars.  With  this 
money  the  girl  bought  a  piece  of  land,  and,  her  little  bro- 
ther having  died,  she  hired  herself  out  as  a  housekeeper. 
In  process  of  time  she  married,  gave  her  little  property  into 
the  keeping  of  her  husband,  who  squandered  it,  died  a 
drunkard,  and  left  her  without  a  penny.  By  the  kindness 


of  a  friend  she  borrowed  a  couple  of  hundred  dollars,  and 
came  to  Ashville  and  opened  a  boarding-house.  In  the 
course  of  five  years  she  made  ten  thousand  dollars,  married 
a  second  time,  and  by  the  profligacy  and  death  of  her  se- 
cond husband  again  lost  every  penny  of  her  property. 
Years  elapsed,  and  the  unceasing  industry  of  the  poor  w^i- 
dow  was  recompensed  by  the  smiles  of  fortune,  and  she  is 
now  the  owner  of  a  large  and  valuable  plantation,  which 
is  the  fruit  of  her  own  individual  toil,  and  a  number  of 
strong  and  manly  sons  are  the  comforts  of  her  old  age. 
But  enougn  !  I  am  now  in  Ashville,  and  at,  the  conclusion 
of  my  letter. 


AsHviLLE,  North  Carolina,  May,  1848. 
Twenty-five  miles  from  this  place,  in  a  northerly  di- 
rection, stands  Black  Mountain,  which  is  the  gloomy  look- 
ing patriarch  of  the  Alleghanies,  and  claimed  to  be  the 
most  elevated  point  of  land  eastward  of  the  Mississippi. 
It  is  nearly  seven  thousand  feet  high,  and,  with  its  nume- 
rous pinnacles,  covers  an  area  of  territory  which  must  mea- 
sure in  length  a  distance  of  at  least  twenty  miles.  Unlike 
its  fellows  in  this  Southern  land,  it  is  covered  with  a  dense 
forest  from  base  to  summit,  where  may  be  found  nearly 
every  variety  of  American  trees,  from  the  willow  and  the 
elm,  to  the  oak  and  the  Canada  fir ;  and  it  is  the  parent  of 
at  least  a  hundred  streams.  Not  a  rood  of  its  rocky  and 
yet  fertile  surface  has  ever  been  cultivated,  and  its  chief 
inhabitants  are  the  panther,  the  bear,  and  the  deer.  Almost 
its  only  human  denizen  is  one  Frederick  Burnet,  a  "  migh- 
ty hunter,"  who  is  now  upwards  of  forty  years  of  age,  and 
is  said  to  have  slain  between  five  hundred  and  six  hundred 
bears  upon  this  mountain  alone.  To  obtain  an  adequate 
idea  of  its  height  and  grandeur,  it  should  be  viewed  from  at 
least  a  dozen  points  of  the  compass,  and  with  regard  to  the 
circular  and  apparently  boundless  panorama  which  it  com- 
mands, it  can  be  far  better  imagined  than  described.  On 
questioning  one  of  the  wild  natives  of  the  region  as  to  the 


character  of  this  prospect,  he  replied  :  "  Good  God  !  sir,  it 
looks  down  upon  every  seaport  in  the  United  States,  and 
across  the  whole  of  Mexico."  On  learning  this  truly  re- 
markable circumstance,  my  curiosity  was  of  course  ex- 
cited, and  I  questioned  my  informant  as  to  the  facilities  of 
looking  off  from  the  peak.  "  Directly  on  the  highest  point," 
said  he,  "  stands  a  single  fir-tree  w^hich  you  have  to  climb, 
and  thus  look  down  on  all  creation.''  "  And  how  do  you 
reach  the  summit  ?"  I  continued.  "  O !  it's  a  very  easy 
matter,  stranger ;  you  only  have  to  walk  about  six  miles, 
and  right  straight  uji  the  roughest  country  you  ever 
did  see.'' 

With  this  intelligence  I  was  fully  satisfied,  and  there- 
upon concluded  that  I  should  waste  none  of  my  strength 
merely  for  the  privilege  of  "  climbing  a  tree,"  even  though 
it  were  the  most  elevated  in  the  land.  One  of  my  Ash- 
ville  friends,  however,  to  whom  I  had  brought  letters  of  in- 
troduction, spoke  to  me  of  the  Black  Mountain  in  the  most 
enthusiastic  terms,  said  that  I  ought  to  visit  it,  and  added 
that  he  had  gotten  up  a  party  of  one  dozen  gentlemen,  in- 
cluding himself,  who  were  resolved  upon  visiting  the  foot 
of  the  mountain  in  my  company.  They  were  described  as 
lovers  of  scenery,  anglers,  and  hunters,  and  it  was  proposed 
that  we  should  go  on  horseback,  though  accompanied  by  a 
kind  of  tender,  consisting  of  a  small  wagon  load  of  provi- 
sions, fishing-rods,  and  guns,  which  was  to  be  under  the 
especial  charge  of  an  old  negro  named  Sam  Drymond.  I 
was  of  course  delighted  with  this  arrangement,  and,  as  the 
expedition  was  accomplished  to  the  satisfaction  of  all  con- 
cerned, I  will  give  an  account  of  its  principal  incidents. 

Our  cavalcade  started  at  the  break  of  day,  and,  as  Miss 
Fortune  would  have  it,  in  what  we  imagined  a  morning 


shower.  It  so  happened,  however,  that  it  rained  almost 
without  ceasing  until  we  reached  our  place  of  destination, 
which  was  a  log  shantee  not  far  from  the  base  of  the  Black 
Mountain,  and  about  six  miles  from  its  summit.  Our  course 
lay  up  the  valley  of  the  Swannanoah,  which,  in  spite  of  the 
rain,  I  could  not  but  admire  for  its  varied  beauties.  This 
river  rises  on  the  Black  Mountain,  is  a  charming  tributary 
of  the  French  Broad,  from  five  to  twenty  yards  in  width, 
cold  and  clear,  very  rapid,  and  throughout  its  entire  length 
is  overshaded  by  a  most  luxuriant  growth  of  graceful  and 
sweet-scented  trees  and  vines.  The  plantations  on  this 
stream  are  highly  cultivated,  the  surrounding  scenery  is 
mountainous,  graceful,  and  picturesque,  and  among  the 
small  but  numerous  waterfalls  which  make  the  first  half  of 
its  course  exceedingly  romantic,  may  be  enjoyed  the  finest 
of  trout  fishing. 

To  describe  the  appearance  of  our  party  as  we  ascended 
the  Swannanoah,  through  the  mud  and  rain,  were  quite 
impossible,  without  employing  a  military  phrase.  We 
looked  more  like  a  party  of  "  used  up"  cavaliers,  returning 
from  an  unfortunate  siege,  than  one  in  pursuit  of  pleasure  ; 
and  in  spite  of  our  efforts  to  be  cheerful,  a  few  of  our  faces 
were  lengthened  to  an  uncommon  degree.  Some  of  our 
company  were  decided  characters,  and  a  variety  of  profes- 
sions were  represented.  Our  captain  was  a  banker,  highly 
intelligent,  and  rode  a  superb  horse  ;  our  second  captain 
was  a  Lambert-like  gentleman,  with  scarlet  Mexican 
cloak  :  we  had  an  editor  with  us,  whose  principal  append- 
age was  a  long  pipe ;  there  was  also  a  young  physician, 
wrapped  up  in  a  blue  blanket ;  also  a  young  graduate,  en- 
veloped in  a  Spanish  cloak,  and  riding  a  beautiful  pony ; 
also  an  artist,  and  then  a  farmer  or  two  ;  also  a  merchant ; 


and  last  of  all  came  the  deponent,  with  an  immense  plaid 
blanket  wrapped  round  his  body,  and  a  huge  pair  of  boots 
hanging  from  his  legs,  whose  romantic  appearance  was 
somewhat  enhanced  by  the  fact  that  his  horse  was  the 
ugliest  in  the  country.  Long  before  reaching  our  place  of 
destination,  a  freshet  came  pouring  down  the  bed  of  the 
Swannanoah,  and,  as  we  had  to  ford  it  at  least  twenty 
times,  we  met  with  a  variety  of  mishaps,  which  were  par- 
ticularly amusing.  The  most  unique  incident,  however, 
was  as  follows  :  The  party  having  crossed  a  certain  ford, 
a  motion  was  made  that  we  should  wait  and  see  that  old 
Drymond  made  the  passage  in  safety.  We  did  so,  and 
spent  about  one  hour  on  the  margin  of  the  stream,  in  a 
most  impatient  mood,  for  the  old  man  travelled  very  slowly, 
and  the  clouds  were  pouring  down  the  rain'most  abundant- 
ly. And  what  greatly  added  to  our  discomfort  was  the 
fact,  that  our  horses  got  into  a  cluster  of  nettles,  which 
made  them  almost  unmanageable.  In  due  time  the  negro  . 
made  his  appearance,  and  plunged  into  the  stream.  Hardly 
had  he  reached  the  middle,  before  his  horse  became  unruly, 
and  having  broken  entirely  loose  from  the  wagon,  disap- 
peared down  the  stream,  leaving  the  vehicle  in  a  most  dan- 
gerous position,  near  the  centre  thereof,  with  a  tremendous 
torrent  rushing  on  either  side,  and  the  poor  negro  in  the  attitude 
of  despair.  He  was  indeed  almost  frightened  to  death  ;  but  his 
woe-begone  appearance  was  so  comical,  that  in  spite  of  his 
real  danger,  and  the  prayer  he  offered,  the  whole  party  burst 
into  a  roar  of  laughter.  One  remark  made  by  the  negro 
was  this  :  "  O  Massa,  dis  is  de  last  o'  poor  old  Drymond — 
his  time's  come."  But  it  so  happened  that  our  old  friend 
was  rescued  from  a  watery  grave :  but  I  am  compelled  to 
state  that  our  provisions,  which  were  now  transferred,  with 


old  Drymond,  on  the  back  of  the  horse,  were  greatly  dam- 
aged, and  we  resumed  our  journey,  with  our  spirits  at  a 
much  lower  ebb  than  the  stream  which  had  caused  the 

We  arrived  at  a  vacant  cabin  on  the  mountain,  our  place 
of  destination,  about  noon,  when  the  weather  became  clear, 
and  our  drooping  spirits  were  revived.  The  cabin  stood  on 
the  margin  of  the  Swannanoah,  and  was  completely  hemmed 
in  by  immense  forest  trees.  Our  first  movement  was  to 
fasten  and  feed  the  horses ;  and  having  satisfied  our  own 
appetites  with  a  cold  lunch,  a  portion  of  the  company  went 
a  fishing,  while  the  remainder  secured  the  services  of  the 
hunter  Burnet,  and  some  half  dozen  of  his  hounds,  and  en- 
deavored to  kill  a  deer.  At  the  sunset  hour  the  anglers 
returned  with  a  lot  of  two  or  three  hundred  trout,  and  the 
hunters  with  a  handsome  doe.  With  this  abundant  supply 
of  forest  delicacies,  and  a  few  "knick-knacks"  that  we  had 
brought  with  us,  we  managed  to  get  up  a  supper  of  the 
first  water,  but  each  man  was  his  own  cook,  and  our  fingers 
and  hands  were  employed  in  the  place  of  knives  and  plates. 
While  this  interesting  business  was  going  on  we  dispatched 
Burnet  after  a  fiddler,  who  occupied  a  cabin  near  his  own, 
and  when  the  musical  gentleman  made  his  appearance,  we 
were  ready  for  the  "evening's  entertainment." 

We  devoted  two  hours  to  a  series  of  fantastic  dances, 
and  when  we  became  tired  of  this  portion  of  the  frolic,  we 
spent  an  hour  or  so  in  singing  songs,  and  wound  up  the 
evening  by  telling  stories.  Of  the  hundred  and  one  that 
were  related,  only  two  were  at  all  connected  with  the 
Black  Mountain,  but  as  these  were  Indian  legends,  and 
gathered  from  difierent  sources,  by  the  gentlemen  present, 
I  will  preserve  them  in  this  letter  for  the  edification  of  those 


interested  in  such  matters.  On  the  north  side  of  Black 
Mountain  there  was  once  a  cave,  where  all  the  animals  in 
the  world  were  closely  confined  ;  and  before  that  time  they 
had  never  been  known  to  roam  over  the  mountains  as 
they  do  now.  All  these  animals  were  in  the  keeping  of 
an  old  Cherokee  chief.  This  man,  who  had  a  mischievous 
son,  often  came  home  w^ith  a  fine  bear  or  deer,  but  would 
never  tell  his  son  or  any  other  person  where  he  found  so 
much  valuable  game.  The  son  did  not  like  this,  and  on 
one  occasion  when  his  father  went  out  after  food  he  hid 
himself  among  the  trees,  and  watched  his  movements.  He 
saw  the  old  man  go  to  the  cave,  already  mentioned,  and, 
as  he  pushed  away  a  big  stone,  out  ran  a  fine  buck,  which 
he  killed  with  an  arrow,  and  then  rolled  back  the  stone. 
When  the  old  man  was  gone  home  with  his  deer  the  boy 
went  to  the  cave,  and  thought  that  he  w^ould  try  his  luck 
in  killing  game.  He  rolled  away  the  stone,  when  out 
jumped  a  wolf,  which  so  frightened  him  that  he  forgot  to 
replace  the  stone,  and,  before  he  knew  what  he  was  about, 
all  the  animals  made  their  escape,  and  were  fleeing  down 
the  mountain  in  every  possible  direction.  They  made  a 
dreadful  noise  for  a  while,  but  finally  came  together  in  pairs, 
and  so  have  continued  to  multiply  down  to  the  present 
time.  When  the  father  found  out  what  the  foolishness  of  his 
son  had  accomplished,  he  became  very  unhappy,  and  in  less 
than  a  week  he  disappeared,  and  was  never  heard  of  again. 
The  boy  also  became  very  unhappy,  and  spent  many  days 
in  trying  to  find  his  father,  but  it  was  all  in  vain.  As  a 
last  resort  he  tried  an  old  Indian  experiment  which  con- 
sisted in  shooting  arrows,  to  find  out  in  which  direction  the 
old  man  had  gone.  The  boy  fired  an  arrow  towards  the 
north,  but  it  returned  and  fell  at  his  feet,  and  he  knew  that 


his  father  had  not  travelled  in  that  direction.  He  also  fired 
one  towards  the  east  and  the  south  and  the  west,  but  they 
all  came  back  in  the  same  manner.  He  then  thought  that 
he  w^ould  fire  one  directly  above  his  head,  and  it  so  hap- 
pened that  this  arrow  never  returned,  and  so  the  boy  knew 
that  his  father  had  gone  to  the  spirit  land.  The  Great 
Spirit  was  angry  with  the  Cherokee  nation,  and  to  punish 
it  for  the  offence  of  the  foolish  boy  he  tore  away  the 
cave  from  the  side  of  the  Black  Mountain,  and  left  only 
a  large  cliff  in  its  place,  which  is  now  a  conspicuous 
feature,  and  he  then  declared  that  the  time  would  come 
when  another  race  of  men  should  possess  the  mountains 
where  the  Cherokees  had  flourished  for  many  genera- 

Another  legend  was  as  follows :  Once,  in  the  olden 
times,  wdien  the  animals  of  the  earth  had  the  power  of 
speech,  a  red  deer  and  a  terrapin  met  on  the  Black  Moun- 
tain. The  deer  ridiculed  the  terrapin,  boasted  of  his  own 
fleetness,  and  proposed  that  the  twain  should  run  a  race. 
The  creeping  animal  assented  to  the  proposition.  The  race 
was  to  extend  from  the  Black  Mountaki  to  the  summit  of 
the  third  pinnacle  extending  to  the  eastward.  The  day 
w^as  then  fixed,  and  the  animals  separated.  During  the  in- 
tervening time  the  cunning  terrapin  secured  the  services  of 
three  of  its  fellows  resembling  itself  in  appearance,  and 
having  given  them  particular  directions,  stationed  them 
upon  the  several  peaks  over  which  the  race  was  to  take 
place.  The  appointed  day  arrived,  and  the  deer,  as  well 
as  the  first  mentioned  terrapin,  were  faithfully  on  the  ground. 
All  things  being  ready,  the  word  was  given,  and  away 
started  the  deer  at  a  break-neck  speed.  Just  as  he  reached 
the  summit  of  the  first  hill  he  heard  the  shout  of  a  terrapin, 


and  as  he  supposed  it  to  be  his  antagonist,  he  was  greatly- 
perplexed,  but  continued  on  his  course.  On  reaching  the 
top  of  the  second  hill,  he  heard  another  shout  of  defiance, 
and  was  more  astonished  than  ever,  but  onward  still  did 
he  continue.  Just  before  reaching  the  summit  of  the 
third  hill,  the  deer  heard  what  he  supposed  to  be  the  same 
shout,  and  he  gave  up  the  race  in  despair.  On  return- 
ing to  the  starting  place,  he  found  his  antagonist  in  a 
calm  and  collected  mood,  and,  when  he  demanded  an  ex- 
planation, the  terrapin  solved  the  mystery,  and  then  begged 
the  deer  to  remember  that  mind  could  sometimes  ac- 
complish what  was  often  beyond  the  reach  of  the  swiftest 

With  regard  to  the  manner  in  which  our  party  spent 
the  night  at  the  foot  of  Black  Mountain,  I  can  only  say 
that  we  slept  upon  the  floor,  and  that  our  saddles  were  our 
only  pillows.  The  morning  of  the  next  day  we  devoted 
to  an  unsuccessful  hunt  after  a  bear,  and  a  portion  of  us 
having  thrown  the  fly  a  sufficient  length  of  time  to  load 
old  Drymond  with  trout,  we  all  started  on  our  return  to 
Ashville,  and  reached  the  village  just  as  the  sun  was  sink- 
ing behind  the  western  mountains. 


North  Cove,  North  Carolina,  June,  1848. 
I  NOW  write  from  a  log  cabin  situated  on  the  Catawba 
river,  and  in  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  valleys.  My 
ride  from  Ashville  to  Burnsville,  a  distance  of  over  forty 
miles,  was  unattended  by  a  single  interesting  incident,  and 
afforded  only  one  mountain  prospect  that  caused  me  to  rein 
in  my  horse.  But  the  prospect  alluded  to  embraced  the 
entire  outline  of  Bald  Mountain,  which,  being  one  of  the 
loftiest  in  this  section  of  country,  and  particularly  bar- 
ren, presented  a  magnificent  appearance.  On  the  extreme 
summit  of  this  mountain  is  a  very  large  and  an  intensely 
cold  spring  of  water,  and  in  its  immediate  vicinity  a  small 
cave  and  the  ruins  of  a  log  cabin,  which  are  associated  with 
a  singular  being  named  David  Greer,  who  once  made  this 
upper  world  his  home.  He  first  appeared  in  this  country 
about  fifty  years  ago  ;  his  native  land,  the  story  of  his  birth, 
and  his  early  history,  were  alike  unknown.  Soon  after  his 
arrival  among  the  mountains,  he  fell  desperately  in  love 
with  the  daughter  of  a  farmer,  but  his  suit  was  rejected  by 
the  maiden,  and  strenuously  opposed  by  all  her  friends. 
Soon  after  this  disappointment  the  lover  suddenly  disap- 
peared, and  was  subsequently  found  residing  on  Bald 
Mountain  in  the  cave  already  mentioned.  Here  he  lived 
the  life  of  a  literary  recluse,  and  is  said  to  have  written  a 


singular  work  upon  religion,  and  another  which  purported 
to  be  a  treatise  on  human  government.  In  the  latter  pro- 
duction he  proclaimed  himself  the  sole  proprietor  of  Bald 
Mountain,  and  made  it  known  to  the  world  that  all  who 
should  ever  become  his  neighbors  must  submit  to  the  laws 
he  had  himself  enacted.  The  prominent  actions  of  his  life 
were  "  few  and  far  between,"  but  particularly  infamous. 
The  first  that  brought  him  into  notice  was  as  follows  : 
A  few  years  after  it  was  ascertained  that  he  had  taken  pos- 
session of  this  mountain,  the  authorities  of  the  county  sent 
a  messenger  to  Greer,  and  demanded  a  poll-tax  of  seventy- 
five  cents.  The  hermit  said  he  would  attend  to  it  on  the 
next  court-day,  and  his  word  was  accepted.  On  the  day 
in  question  Greer  punctually  made  his  appearance,  but,  in- 
stead of  paying  over  the  money,  he  pelted  the  windows  of 
the  court-house  with  stones,  and  drove  the  judges,  lawyers, 
and  clients  all  out  of  the  village,  and  then,  with  rifle  in 
hand,  returned  to  his  mountain  dwelling.  For  some  months 
after  this  event  he  amused  himself  by  mutilating  all  the 
cattle  which  he  happened  to  discover  on  what  he  called  his 
domain,  and  it  is  said  was  in  the  habit  of  trying  the  power 
of  his  rifle  by  shooting  down  upon  the  plantations  of  his 
neighbors.  The  crowning  event  of  David  Greer's  life, 
however,  consisted  in  his  shooting  to  the  ground  in  cold 
blood,  and  in  the  broad  daylight,  a  man  named  Higgins. 
The  only  excuse  that  he  offered  for  committing  this  murder 
was  that  the  deceased  had  been  found  hunting  for  deer  on 
that  portion  of  land  which  he  claimed  as  his  own.  For 
this  offence  Greer  was  brought  to  trial  and  acquitted  on  the 
ground  of  insanity.  When  this  decision  was  made  known, 
the  criminal  was  greatly  enraged,  and,  when  released, 
started  for   his   cabin,  muttering   loud   and   deep    curses 


against  the  injustice  of  the  laws.  In  process  of  time  a 
number  of  attempts  were  made  to  take  his  hfe,  and  it  was 
a  common  occurrence  with  him  to  be  awakened  at  mid- 
night by  a  ball  passing  through  the  door  of  his  cabin.  After 
living  upon  the  mountain  for  a  period  of  twenty  years,  he 
finally  concluded  to  abandon  his  solitary  life,  and  took  up 
his  abode  in  one  of  the  settlements  on  the  Tennessee  side 
of  Bald  Mountain.  Here,  for  a  year  or  two,  he  worked 
regularly  in  an  iron  forge,  but  having  had  a  dispute  with  a 
fellow- workman,  swore  that  he  would  shoot  him  within  five 
hours,  and  started  after  his  rifle.  The  offending  party  was 
named  Tompkins,  and  after  consulting  with  his  friends  as 
to  what  course  he  ought  to  pursue,  in  view  of  the  uttered 
threat,  he  was  advised  to  take  the  law  in  his  own  hands. 
He  took  this  advice,  and,  as  David  Greer  was  discovered 
walking  along  the  road  with  rifle  in  hand,  Tompkins  shot 
him  through  the  heart,  and  the  burial-place  of  the  hermit  is 
now  unknown.  Public  opinion  was  on  the  side  of  Tomp- 
kins, and  he  was  never  summoned  to  account  for  the  defen- 
sive murder  he  had  committed. 

In  coming  from  Burnsville  to  this  place,  I  enjoyed  two 
mountain  landscapes,  which  were  supremely  beautiful  and 
imposing.  The  first  was  a  northern  view  of  Black  Moun- 
tain from  the  margin  of  the  South  Toe  river,  and  all  its 
cliff's,  defiles,  ravines,  and  peaks  seemed  as  light,  dream- 
like, and  airy  as  the  clear  blue  world  in  which  they  floated. 
The  stupendous  pile  appeared  to  have  risen  from  the  earth 
with  all  its  glories  in  their  prime,  as  if  to  join  the  newly- 
risen  sun  in  his  passage  across  the  heavens.  The  middle 
distance  of  the  landscape  was  composed  of  two  wood- 
crowned  hills  which  stood  before  me  like  a  pair  of  loving 
brothers,  and    then   came  a  luxuriant  meadow,   where  a 


noble  horse  was  quietly  cropping  his  food  ;  while  the  im- 
mediate foreground  of  the  picture  consisted  of  a  marvel- 
lously beautiful  stream,  which  glided  swiftly  by,  over  a 
bed  of  golden  and  scarlet  pebbles.  The  only  sounds  that 
fell  upon  my  ear,  as  I  gazed  upon  this  scene,  were  the 
murmurings  of  a  distant  water-fall,  and  the  hum  of  insect 

The  other  prospect  that  I  witnessed  was  from  the  sum- 
mit of  the  Blue  Ridge,  looking  in  the  direction  of  the  Ca- 
tawba. It  was  a  wilderness  of  mountains,  whose  founda- 
tions could  not  be  fathomed  by  the  eye,  while  in  the 
distance,  towering  above  all  the  peaks,  rose  the  singular 
and  fantastic  form  of  the  Table  Mountain.  Not  a  sign  of 
the  breathing  human  world  could  be  seen  in  any  direction, 
and  the  only  living  creature  which  appeared  to  my  view 
was  a  solitary  eagle,  wheeling  to  and  fro  far  up  towards 
the  zenith  of  the  sky. 

From  the  top  of  the  Blue  Ridge  I  descended  a  winding 
ravine  four  miles  in  length,  where  the  road,  even  at  mid-day, 
is  in  deep  shadow,  and  then  I  emerged  into  the  North  Cove. 
This  charming  valley  is  twelve  miles  long,  from  a  half  to  a 
whole  mile  in  width,  completely  surrounded  with  moun- 
tains, highly  cultivated,  watered  by  the  Catawba,  and  in- 
habited by  intelligent  and  worthy  farmers.  At  a  certain 
house  where  I  tarried  to  dine  on  my  way  up  the  valley,  1 
was  treated  in  a  manner  that  would  have  put  to  the  blush 
people  of  far  greater  pretensions  ;  and,  what  made  a  deep 
impression  on  my  mind,  was  the  fact  that  I  was  waited 
upon  by  two  sisters,  about  ten  years  of  age,  who  were  re- 
markably beautiful  and  sprightly.  One  of  them  had  flaxen 
hair  and  blue  eyes,  and  the  other  deep  black  hair  and 
eyes.      Familiar  as  I  had  been  for  weeks  past  with  the 


puny  and  ungainly  inhabitants  of  the  mountain  tops,  these 
two  human  flowers  filled  my  heart  with  a  delightful 
sensation.  May  the  lives  of  those  two  darlings  be  as 
peaceful  and  beautiful  as  the  stream  upon  which  they 
live  !  The  prominent  pictorial  feature  of  the  North  Cove 
is  of  a  mountain  called  tlie  Hawk^s  Bill,  on  account 
of  its  resemblance  to  the  beak  of  a  mammoth  bird,  the 
length  of  the  bill  being  about  fifteen  hundred  feet.  It 
is  visible  from  nearly  every  part  of  the  valley,  and  to 
my  fancy  is  a  more  picturesque  object  than  the  Table 
Mountain,  which  is  too  regular  at  the  sides  and  top  to 
satisfy  the  eye.  The  table  part  of  this  mountain,  however, 
is  twenty-five  hundred  feet  high,  and  therefore  worthy  of 
its  fame. 

The  cabin  where  I  am  stopping  at  the  present  time  is 
located  at  the  extreme  upper  end  of  the  North  Cove.  It  is 
the  residence  of  the  best  guide  in  the  country,  and  the  most 
convenient  lodging  place  for  those  who  would  visit  the 
Hawk's  Bill  and  Table  Mountains,  already  mentioned,  as 
well  as  the  Lindville  Pinnacle,  the  Catawba  Cave,  the  Cake 
Mountain,  the  Lindville  Falls,  and  the  Roan  Mountain. 

The  Lindville  Pinnacle  is  a  mountain  peak,  surmounted 
by  a  pile  of  rocks,  upon  which  you  may  recline  at  your 
ease,  and  look  down  upon  a  complete  series  of  rare  and 
gorgeous  scenes.  On  one  side  is  a  precipice  which  seems 
to  descend  to  the  very  bowels  of  the  earth ;  in  another 
direction  you  have  a  full  view  of  Short-off  Mountain, 
only  about  a  mile  off,  which  is  a  perpendicular  precipice 
several  thousand  feet  high,  and  the  abrupt  termination  of  a 
long  range  of  mountains ;  in  another  direction  still  the  eye 
falls  upon  a  brotherhood  of  mountain  peaks  which  are  par- 
ticularly  ragged  and   fantastic   in   their   formation — now 


shooting  forward,  as  if  to  look  down  into  the  valleys,  and 
now  looming  to  the  sky,  as  if  to  pierce  it  with  their  pointed 
summits  ;  and  in  another  direction  you  look  across  what 
seems  to  be  a  valley  from  eighty  to  a  hundred  miles  wide, 
which  is  bounded  by  a  range  of  mountains  that  seem  to 
sweep  across  the  world  as  with  triumphal  march. 

The  Catawba  Cave,  situated  on  the  Catawba  river,  is 
entered  by  a  fissure  near  the  base  of  a  mountain,  and  is  re- 
puted to  be  one  mile  in  length.  It  has  a  great  variety  of 
chambers,  which  vary  in  height  from  six  to  twenty  feet ;  its 
walls  are  chiefly  composed  of  a  porous  limestone,  through 
which  the  water  is  continually  dripping ;  and  along  the  en- 
tire length  flows  a  cold  and  clear  stream,  which  varies 
from  five  to  fifteen  inches  in  depth.  This  cave  is  indeed  a 
curious  aflfair,  though  the  trouble  and  fatigue  attending  a 
thorough  exploration  far  outweigh  the  satisfaction  which 
it  affords.  But  there  is  one  arm  of  the  cave  which  has 
never  been  explored,  and  an  admirable  opportunity  is  there- 
fore offered  for  the  adventurous  to  make  themselves  famous 
by  revealing  some  of  the  hidden  wonders  of  nature. 

The  Ginger  Cake  Mountain  derives  its  very  poetical 
name  from  a  singular  pile  of  rocks  occupying  its  extreme 
summit.  The  pile  is  composed  of  two  masses  of  rock  of 
different  materials  and  form,  which  are  so  arranged  as  to 
stand  on  a  remarkably  small  base.  The  lower  section  is 
composed  of  a  rough  slate  stone,  and  its  form  is  that  of  an 
inverted  pyramid  ;  but  the  upper  section  of  the  pile  con- 
sists of  an  oblong  slab  of  solid  granite,  which  surmounts 
the  lower  section  in  a  horizontal  position,  presenting  the 
appearance  of  a  work  of  art.  The  lower  section  is  thirty 
feet  in  altitude,  while  the  upper  one  is  thirty-two  feet  in 
length,  eighteen   in   breadth,  and   nearly  two  feet  in  thick- 


ness.  The  appearance  of  this  rocky  wonder  is  exceedingly 
tottleish,  and  though  we  may  be  assured  that  it  has  stood 
upon  that  eminence  perhaps  for  a  thousand  years,  yet  it  is 
impossible  to  tarry  within  its  shadow  without  a  feeling  of 
insecurity.  The  individual  who  gave  the  Ginger  Cake 
Mountain  its  outlandish  name  was  a  hermit  named  Watson, 
who  resided  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain  about  fifty  years 
ago,  but  w^ho  died  in  1816.  He  lived  in  a  small  cabin,  and 
entirely  alone.  His  history  was  a  mystery  to  every  one 
but  himself,  and,  though  remarkably  eccentric,  he  was  noted 
for  his  amiability.  He  had  given  up  the  world,  like  his 
brother  hermit  of  the  Bald  Mountain,  on  account  of  a  dis- 
appointment in  love,  and  the  utter  contempt  which  he 
ever  afterwards  manifested  for  the  gentler  sex,  was  one  of 
his  most  singular  traits  of  character.  Whenever  a  party 
of  ladies  paid  him  a  visit,  which  was  frequently  the  case, 
he  invariably  treated  them  politely,  but  would  never  speak 
to  them ;  he  even  went  so  far  in  expressing  his  dislike  as 
to  consume  for  firewood,  after  the  ladies  were  gone,  the 
topmost  rail  of  his  yard-fence,  over  which  they  had  been 
compelled  to  pass,  on  their  way  into  his  cabin.  That  old 
Watson  "  fared  sumptuously  every  day"  could  not  be  denied, 
but  whence  came  the  money  that  supported  him  no  one 
could  divine.  He  seldom  molested  the  wild  animals  of  the 
mountain  where  he  lived,  and  his  chief  employments  seem- 
ed to  be  the  raising  of  peacocks,  and  the  making  of  garments 
for  his  own  use,  which  were  all  elegantly  trimmed  off  with 
the  fathers  of  his  favorite  bird.  The  feathery  suit  in  which 
he  kept  himself  constantly  arrayed  he  designated  as  his  cul- 
gee  ;  the  meaning  of  which  word  could  never  be  ascertain- 
ed ;  and  long  after  the  deluded  being  had  passed  away  from 
among  the  living  he  was  spoken  of  as  Culgee  Watson,  and 
is  so  remembered  to  this  day.  * 


I  come  now  to  speak  of  the  Lindmlle  Falls,  which  are 
situated  on  the  Lindville  river,  a  tributary  of  the  beautiful 
Catawba.  They  are  hterally  embosomed  among  mountains, 
and  long  before  seeing  them  do  you  hear  their  musical  roar. 
The  scenery  about  them  is  as  wild  as  it  was  a  hundred 
years  ago — not  even  a  pathway  has  yet  been  made  to  guide 
the  tourist  into  the  stupendous  gorge  where  they  reign  su- 
preme. At  the  point  in  question  the  Lindville  is  about  one 
hundred  and  fifty  feet  broad,  and  though  its  waters  have 
come  down  their  parent  mountains  at  a  most  furious  speed, 
they  here  make  a  more  desperate  plunge  than  they  ever 
dared  to  attempt  before^  when  they  find  themselves  in  a 
deep  pool  and  suddenly  hemmed  in  by  a  barrier  of  gray 
granite,  which  crosses  the  entire  bed  of  the  river.  In  their 
desperation,  however,  they  finally  work  a  passage  through 
the  solid  rock,  and  after  filling  another  hollow  with  foam, 
they  make  a  desperate  leap  of  at  least  one  hundred  feet,  and 
find  a  resting  place  in  an  immense  pool,  which  one  might 
easily  imagine  to  be  bottomless.  And  then,  as  if  attracted 
by  the  astonishing  feats  performed  by  the  waters,  a  number 
of  lofty  and  exceedingly  fantastic  cliffs  have  gathered  them- 
selves together  in  the  immediate  neighborhood,  and  are  ever 
peering  over  each  other's  shoulders  into  the  depths  below. 
But  as  the  eye  wanders  from  the  surrounding  cliffs,  it  falls 
upon  an  isolated  column  several  hundred  feet  high,  around 
which  are  clustered  in  the  greatest  profusion  the  most  beau- 
tiful of  vines  and  flowers.  This  column  occupies  a  conspic- 
uous position  a  short  distance  below  the  Falls,  and  it  were 
an  easy  matter  to  imagine  it  a  monument  erected  by  Na- 
ture to  celebrate  her  own  creative  power. 

With  aliberal  hand,  indeed,  has  she  planted  her  forest  trees 
in  every  imaginable  place ;  but  with  a  view  of  even  sur- 


passing  herself,  she  has  filled  the  gorge  with  a  variety  of 
caverns,  which  astonish  the  beholder,  and  almost  cause  him 
to  dread  an  attack  from  a  brotherhood  of  spirits.  But  how 
futile  is  my  effort  to  give  an  adequate  idea  of  the  Lindville 
Falls  and  their  surrounding  attractions !  When  I  attempted 
to  sketch  them  I  threw  away  my  pencil  in  despair ;  and  I 
now  feel  that  I  should  be  doing  my  pen  a  kindness,  if  I 
were  to  consume  what  I  have  written.  I  will  give  this 
paragraph  to  the  world,  however,  trusting  that  those  who 
may  hereafter  visit  the  Lindville  Falls,  will  award  to  me  a 
little  credit  for  my  will  if  not  for  my  deed. 

To  be  in  keeping  with  my  wayward  wanderings  in  this 
Alpine  wilderness,  it  now  becomes  my  duty  to  speak  of  the 
Roan  Mountain  and  the  Grand  Father.  By  actual  mea- 
surement the  former  is  only  seventy  feet  lower  than  the 
Black  Mountain,  and  consequently  measures  well  nigh  to 
seven  thousand  feet.  It  derives  its  name  from  the  circum- 
stance that  it  is  often  covered  with  snow,  and  at  such 
times  is  of  a  roan  color.  It  lies  in  the  States  of  North  Ca- 
rolina and  Tennessee,  and  has  three  prominent  peaks, 
which  are  all  entirely  destitute  of  trees.  The  highest  of 
them  has  a  clearing  containing  several  thousand  acres,  and 
the  cattle  and  horses  of  the  surrounding  farmers  resort  to  it 
in  immense  numbers,  for  the  purpose  of  feeding  upon  the 
fine  and  luxuriant  grass  which  grows  there  in  great  abun- 
dance. The  ascent  to  the  top  of  this  peak  is  gradual  from 
all  directions  except  one,  but  on  the  north  it  is  quite  per- 
pendicular, and  to  one  standing  near  the  brow  of  the 
mighty  cliff  the  scene  is  exceedingly  imposing  and  fearful. 
That  it  commands  an  uninterrupted  view  of  what  appears 
to  be  the  entire  world,  may  be  readily  imagined.  When  I 
was  there  I  observed  no  less  than   three  thunder  storms 


performing  their  uproarious  feats  in  three  several  valleys, 
while  the  remaining  portions  of  the  lower  world  were  en- 
joying a  deep  blue  atmosphere.  In  visiting  Roan  Moun- 
tain you  have  to  travel  on  horseback,  and,  by  starting  at 
the  break  of  day,  you  may  spend  two  hours  on  the  highest 
peak,  and  be  home  again  on  the  same  evening  about  the 
sunset  hour. 

In  accounting  for  the  baldness  which  characterizes  the 
Roan  Mountain,  the  Catawba  Indians  relate  the  following 
tradition :  There  was  once  a  time  when  all  the  nations  of 
the  earth  were  at  war  with  the  Catawbas,  and  had  pro- 
claimed their  determination  to  conquer  and  possess  their 
country.  On  hearing  this  intelligence  the  Catawbas  be- 
came greatly  enraged,  and  sent  a  challenge  to  all  their  ene- 
mies, and  dared  them  to  a  fight  on  the  summit  of  the  Roan. 
The  challenge  was  accepted,  and  nolens  than  three  famous 
battles  were  fought — the  streams  of  the  entire  land  were 
red  with  blood,  a  number  of  tribes  became  extinct,  and  the 
Catawbas  carried  the  day.  Whereupon  it  was  that  the 
Great  Spirit  caused  the  forests  to  wither  from  the  three 
peaks  of  the  Roan  Mountain  where  the  battles  were  fought ; 
and  wherefore  it  is  that  the  flowers  which  grow  upon  this 
mountain  are  chiefly  of  a  crimson  hue,  for  they  are  nou- 
rished by  the  blood  of  the  slain. 

One  of  the  finest  views  from  the  Roan  Mountain  is  that 
of  the  Grand  Father,  which  is  said  to  be  altogether  the 
wildest  and  most  fantastic  mountain  in  the  whole  Alleghany 
range.  It  is  reputed  to  be  5,000  feet  high,  and  particularly 
famous  for  its  black  bears  and  other  large  game.  Its  prin- 
cipal human  inhabitants,  par  excellence,  for  the  last  twenty 
years,  have  been  a  man  named  Jim  Riddle,  and  his  loving 
spouse,  whose  cabin  was  near  its  summit.     A  more  sue- 


cessful  hunter  than  Jim  never  scaled  a  precipice  ;  and  the 
stories  related  of  him  would  fill  a  volume.  One  of  the  fun- 
niest that  I  now  remember,  is  briefly  as  follows  : — 

He  w^as  out  upon  a  hunting  expedition,  and  having 
come  to  one  of  his  bear  traps,  (made  of  logs,  weighing 
about  a  thousand  pounds,  and  set  with  a  kind  of  figure 
four,)  the  bait  of  which  happened  to  be  misplaced,  he 
thoughtlessly  laid  down  his  gun,  and  went  under  the  trap 
to  arrange  the  bait.  In  doing  this,  he  handled  the  bait 
hook  a  little  too  roughly,  and  was  consequently  caught  in 
the  place  of  a  bear.  He  chanced  to  have  a  small  hatchet 
in  his  belt,  with  which,  under  every  disadvantage,  he  suc- 
ceeded in  cutting  his  way  out.  He  was  one  day  and  one 
night  in  doing  this,  however,  and  his  narrow  escape  caused 
him  to  abandon  the  habit  of  swearing,  and  become  a  reli- 
gious man. 

To  the  comprehension  of  Jim  Riddle,  the  Grand  Father 
was  the  highest  mountain  in  the  world.  He  used  to  say 
that  he  had  read  of  the  Andes,  but  did  not  believe  that  they 
were  half  as  high  as  the  mountain  on  which  he  lived.  His 
reason  for  this  opinion  was,  that  when  a  man  stood  on  the 
top  of  the  Grand  Father,  it  was  perfectly  obvious  that  "  all 
the  other  mountains  in  the  world  lay  rolling  from  it,  even  to 
the  sky." 

Jim  Riddle  is  said  to  have  been  a  remarkably  certain 
marksman ;  and  one  of  his  favorite  pastimes,  in  the  winter, 
was  to  shoot  at  snow-balls.  On  these  occasions,  his  loving 
wife,  Betsey,  was  always  by  his  side,  to  laugh  at  him  when 
he  missed  his  ma,rk,  and  to  applaud  when  successful.  And 
it  is  reported  of  them,  that  they  were  sometimes  in  the 
habit  of  spending  entire  days  in  this  elevated  recreation.  But 


enough ;  Jim  Riddle  is  now  an  altered  man.  His  cabin 
has  long  since  been  abandoned,  and  he  has  become  a  tra- 
velUng  preacher,  and  is  universally  respected  for  his  amia- 
bility, and  matter-of-fact  intelligence. 


Elizabethton,  Tennessee,  June,  1848. 
The  prominent  circumstance  attending  my  journey 
from  the  North  Cove  to  this  place  was,  that  it  brought  me 
out  of  the  great  mountain  wilderness  of  Georgia  and  North 
Carolina  into  a  well-cultivated  and  more  level  country. 
For  two  months  past  have  I  spent  my  days  on  horseback, 
and  the  majority  of  my  nights  in  the  rudest  of  cabins ;  and 
as  I  am  now  to  continue  my  journey  in  a  stagecoach,  it  is 
meet  that  I  should  indite  a  general  letter,  descriptive  of  the 
region  through  which  I  have  passed.  In  coming  from  Dah- 
lonega  to  this  place,  I  have  travelled  in  a  zigzag  course  up- 
wards of  four  hundred  miles,  but  the  intervening  distance, 
in  a  direct  line,  would  not  measure  more  than  two  hun- 
dred. The  entire  country  is  mountainous,  and  for  the 
most  part  remains  in  its  original  state  of  nature.  To  the 
botanist  and  the  geologist,  this  section  of  the  Union  is  un- 
questionably the  most  interesting  eastward  of  the  Missis- 
sippi, for  we  have  here  nearly  every  variety  of  forest  trees 
known  in  the  land,  as  well  as  plants  and  flowers  in  the 
greatest  abundance,  while  the  mountains,  which  are  of  a 
primitive  formation,  abound  in  every  known  variety  of 
minerals.  That  the  scenery  of  this  region  is  highly  inter- 
esting, I  hope  my  readers  have  already  been  convinced. 
More  beautiful  streams  can  nowhere  be  found  on  the  face 


of  the  earth.  But,  when  we  come  to  speak  of  lake  scenery, 
the  South  must  yield  the  palm  to  the  North.  Not  a  single 
sheet  of  water  deserving  the  name  of  lake  have  I  yet  seen 
in  this  Southern  land,  and  yet  every  mountain  seems  to  be 
well  supplied  with  the  largest  and  the  coldest  of  springs. 
I  know  not  but  this  fact  has  been  explained  by  our  scien- 
tific men,  but  to  me  it  is  indeed  a  striking  peculiarity.  The 
valleys,  too,  of  this  region,  are  remarkably  narrow,  and  the 
majority  of  them  might  with  more  propriety  be  called  im- 
mense ravines.  The  skies,  however,  which  canopy  this 
Alpine  land,  appeared  to  me  to  be  particularly  blue,  and  as 
to  the  clouds  which  gather  around  the  mountains  at  the 
sunset  hour,  they  are  gorgeous  beyond  compare. 

With  regard  to  climate,  I  know  of  no  section  of  coun- 
try that  can  be  compared  with  the  highlands  of  Georgia 
and  North  Carolina.  It  is  but  seldom  that  a  foot  of  snow 
covers  the  earth  even  in  the  severest  winters ;  and,  though 
the  days  of  midsummer  are  very  warm,  they  are  seldom 
sultry,  and  the  nights  are  invariably  sufficiently  cool  to 
make  one  or  two  blankets  comfortable.  Fevers  and  other 
diseases  peculiar  to  the  sea-side  of  the  Alleghanies  are  hard- 
ly known  among  their  inhabitants,  and  heretofore  the  ma- 
jority of  people  have  died  of  old  age.  1  would  not  intimate 
that  they  are  afflicted  with  an  epidemic  at  the  present  time, 
but  I  do  say  that  there  are  many  households  in  this  region, 
which  have  been  rendered  very  desolate  by  the  Mexican 
war.  When  our  kingly  President  commanded  the  Ameri- 
can people  to  leave  the  plough  in  the  furrow  and  invade  a 
neighboring  republic,  the  mountaineers  of  Georgia  and  the 
Carolinas  poured  down  into  the  valley  almost  without  bid- 
ding their  mothers,  and  wives,  and  sisters  a  final  adieu ; 
and  the  bones  of  at  least  one  half  of  these  brave  men  i3re 


now  mouldering  away  on  the  desert  sands  of  the  far 

Generally  speaking,  the  soil  of  this  country  is  fertile, 
yielding  the  best  of  corn,  potatoes,  and  rye,  but  only  an 
average  quality  of  wheat,  on  account  of  the  late  frosts. 
In  some  of  the  more  extensive  valleys,  the  apple  and  the 
peach  arrive  at  perfection  ;  and  while  the  former  are  man- 
ufactured into  cider,  out  of  the  latter  the  mountaineers 
make  a  very  palatable  brandy.  The  principal  revenue  of 
the  people,  how^ever,  is  derived  front  the  business  of  raising 
cattle,  which  is  practised  to  a  considerable  extent.  The 
mountain  ranges  afford  an  abundance  of  the  sweetest  gra- 
zing food,  and  all  that  the  farmer  has  to  do  in  the  autumn 
is  to  hunt  up  his  stock,  which  have  now  become  excessive- 
ly fat,  and  drive  them  to  the  Charleston  or  Baltimore  mar- 
ket. The  only  drawback  to  this  business  consists  in  the 
fact  that  the  cattle  in  certain  sections  of  the  country  are 
subject  to  what  is  called  the  milk  sickness.  This  disease 
is  supposed  to  be  caused  by  a  poisonous  dew  which  gathers 
on  the  grass,  and  is  said  not  only  to  have  destroyed  a  great 
many  cattle  in  other  years,  but  frequently  caused  the 
death  of  entire  families  who  may  have  partaken  of  the  un- 
wholesome milk.  It  is  a  dreaded  disease,  and  principally 
fatal  in  the  autumn.  From  the  foregoing  remarks  it  will 
be  seen  that  a  mountain  farmer  may  be  an  agriculturist, 
and  yet  have  an  abundance  of  time  to  follow  any  other  em- 
ployment that  he  has  a  passion  for  ;  and  the  result  of  this 
fact  is,  that  he  is  generally  a  faithful  disciple  of  the  immor- 
tal Nimrod. 

All  the  cabins  that  I  have  visited  have  been  ornamented 
by  at  least  one  gun,  and  more  than  one-half  of  the  inhabit- 
ants have  usually  been  hounds.  That  the  mountaineers  are 


poor,  is  a  matter  of  course,  and  the  majority  of  their  cabins 
are  cheerless  places  indeed  to  harbor  the  human  frame  for 
life  ;  but  the  people  are  distinguished  for  their  hospitality, 
and  always  place  before  the  stranger  the  choicest  of  their 
store.  Bacon,  game,  and  milk  are  their  staple  articles  of 
food,  and  honey  is  their  principal  luxury.  In  religion,  gen- 
erally speaking,  they  are  Methodists  and  Baptists,  and  are 
distinguished  for  their  sobriety.  They  have  but  few  oppor- 
tunities of  hearing  good  preaching,  but  I  have  never  en- 
tered more  than  three  or  four  cabins  where  I  did  not  see  a 
copy  of  the  Bible.  The  limited  knowledge  they  possess  has 
come  to  them  directly  from  Heaven  as  it  were,  and,  from 
the  necessity  of  the  case,  their  children  are  growing  up  in 
the  most  deplorable  ignorance.  Whenever  one  of  these  poor 
families  happened  to  learn  from  my  conversation  that  I  was 
a  resident  of  New-York,  the  interest  with  which  they  gazed 
upon  me  and  listened  to  my  every  word,  was  both  agreea- 
ble and  painful.  It  made  me  happy  to  communicate  what 
little  I  happened  to  know,  but  pained  me  to  think  upon 
their  isolated  and  uncultivated  manner  of  life.  Give  me 
the  wilderness  for  a  day  or  month,  but  for  life  I  must  be 
amid  the  haunts  of  refinement  and  civilization.  As  to  the 
slave  population  of  the  mountain  districts,  it  is  so  limited 
that  I  can  hardly  express  an  opinion  with  regard  to  their 
condition.  Not  more  than  one  white  man  in  ten  (perhaps 
I  ought  to  say  twenty)  is  sufficiently  wealthy  to  support  a 
slave,  and  those  who  do  possess  them  are  in  the  habit  of 
treating  them  as  intelligent  beings  and  in  the  most  kindly 
manner.  As  I  have  found  it  to  be  the  case  on  the  sea- 
board, the  slaves  residing  among  the  mountains  are  the 
happiest  and  most  independent  portion  of  the  population  ; 


and  I  have  had  many  a  one  pilot  me  over  the  mountains 
who  would  not  have  exchanged  places  even  with  his  mas- 
ter. They  have  a  comfortable  house  and  no  debts  to  pay : 
every  thing  they  need  in  the  way  of  clothing  and  wholesome 
food  is  ever  at  their  command,  and  they  have  free  access  to 
the  churches  and  the  Sunday  schools  of  the  land.  What 
more  do  the  poor  of  any  country  possess  that  can  add  to 
their  temporal  happiness  ? 

Another,  and  of  course  the  most  limited  portion  of  the 
population  occupying  this  mountain  country,-  is  what  might 
be  called  the  aristocracy  or  gentry.  Generally  speaking, 
they  are  descended  from  the  best  of  families,  and  moderately 
wealthy.  They  are  fond  of  good  living,  and  their  chief 
business  is  to  make  themselves  as  comfortable  as  possible. 
They  esteem  solid  enjoyment  more  than  display,  and  are 
far  more  intelligent  (so  far  as  books  and  the  world  are  con- 
cerned) than  the  same  class  of  people  at  the  North.  The 
majority  of  Southern  gentlemen,  I  believe,  would  be  glad 
to  see  the  institution  of  slavery  abolished,  if  it  could  be 
brought  about  without  reducing  them  to  beggary.  But 
they  hate  a  political  Abolitionist  as  they  do  the  very — 
Father  of  Lies ;  and  for  this  want  of  affection  I  do  not  see 
that  they  deserve  to  be  blamed.  The  height  of  a  Southern 
man's  ambition  is  to  be  a  gentleman  in  every  particular — 
in  word,  thought,  and  deed  ;  and  to  be  a  perfect  gentleman, 
in  my  opinion,  is  to  be  a  Christian.  And  with  regard  to  the 
much-talked-of  hospitality  of  the  wealthier  classes  in  the 
South,  I  can  only  say  that  my  own  experience  ought  to 
make  me  very  eloquent  in  their  praise.  Not  only  does  the 
genuine  feeling  exist  here,  but  a  Southern  gentleman  gives 
such  expression  to  his  feeling  by  his  home-like  treatment  of 


you,  that  to  be  truly  hospitable  you  might  imagine  had  been 
the  principal  study  of  his  life. 

But  the  music  of  the  "  mellow  horn  ""  is  ringing  in  my 
ear,  and  in  an  hour  from  this  time  I  shall  have  thrown  my- 
self into  a  stagecoach,  and  be  on  my  way  up  the  long  and 
broad  valley  of  Virginia. 


The  Nameless  Vallet,  Virginia,  June,  1848. 

Since  my  last  letter  was  written,  my  course  of  travel 
has  led  me  towards  the  fountain-head  of  the  Holston  river, 
whose  broad  and  highly  cultivated  valley  is  bounded  on  the 
northwest  by  the  Clinch  Mountains,  and  on  the  southeast 
by  the  Iron  Mountains.  The  agricultural  and  mineral  ad- 
vantages of  this  valley  are  manifold,  and  the  towns  and 
farms  scattered  along  the  stage-road  all  present  a  thriving 
and  agreeable  appearance.  Along  the  bed  of  the  Holston 
agates  and  cornelians  are  found  in  considerable  abundance ; 
and  though  the  scenery  of  its  valley  is  merely  beautiful,  I 
know  of  no  district  in  the  world  where  caves  and  caverns 
are  found  in  such  great  numbers.  A  zigzag  tour  along  this 
valley  alone  will  take  the  traveller  to  at  least  one  dozen 
caves,  many  of  which  are  said  to  be  remarkably  interest- 
ing. From  my  own  observation,  however,  I  know  nothing 
about  them ;  and  so  long  as  I  retain  my  passion  for  the  re- 
vealed productions  of  nature,  I  will  leave  the  hidden  ones  to 
take  care  of  themselves. 

On  reaching  the  pleasant  little  village  of  Abingdon,  in 
Washington  county,  a  friend  informed  me  that  I  must  not 
fail  to  visit  the  salt-works  of  Smythe  county.  I  did  so,  and 
the  following  is  my  account  of  Saltville,  which  is  the  proper 
name  for  the  place  in  question  :  Its  site  was  originally  a 
salt-lick,  to  which  immense  herds  of  elk,  buffalo,  and  deer, 


were  in  the  habit  of  resorting  ;  subsequently,  the  Indians 
applied  the  privilege  to  themselves,  and  then  an  occasional 
hunter  came  here  for  his  supplies  ;  but  the  regular  business 
of  transforming  the  w^ater  into  salt  did  not  commence  until 
the  year  1790.  Saltville  is  located  at  the  head  of  a  valley 
near  the  base  of  the  Clinch  Mountains,  and  about  one  mile 
from  the  Holston  river.  All  the  population  of  the  place, 
numbering  perhaps  three  hundred  inhabitants,  are  engaged 
in  the  manufacture  of  salt.  The  water  here  is  said  to  be 
the  strongest  and  purest  in  the  world.  When  tested  by  a 
salometer,  graded  for  saturation  at  twenty-five  degrees,  it 
ranges  from  twenty  to  twenty-two  degrees,  and  twenty 
gallons  of  water  will  yield  one  bushel  of  salt,  which  weighs 
fifty  pounds,  (and  not  fifty-six  as  at  the  North,)  and  is  sold 
at  the  rate  of  twenty  cents  per  bushel,  or  one  dollar  and 
twenty  cents  per  barrel.  The  water  is  brought  from  a 
depth  of  two  hundred  and  twenty  feet  by  means  of  three 
artesian  wells,  which  keep  five  furnaces  or  salt-blocks,  of 
eighty-four  kettles  each,  in  constant  employment,  and  pro- 
duce about  two  thousand  bushels  per  day.  The  water  is 
raised  by  means  of  horse-power,  and  twenty-five  teams  are 
constantly  employed  in  supplying  the  furnaces  with  wood. 
The  salt  manufactured  here  is  acknowledged  to  be  superior 
in  quality  to  that  made  on  the  Kanawha,  in  this  State,  or 
at  Syracuse,  in  New- York,  but  the  Northern  establishments 
are  by  far  the  most  extensive.  The  section  of  country 
supplied  from  this  quarter  is  chiefly  composed  of  Tennessee 
and  Alabama ;  generally  speaking,  there  is  but  one  ship- 
ment made  during  the  year,  which  is  in  the  spring,  and  by 
means  of  flat-boats  built  expressly  for  the  purpose.  A 
dozen  or  two  of  these  boats  are  always  ready  for  business, 
and  when  the  Holston  is  swollen  by  a  freshet  they  are 


loaded  and  manned  at  the  earliest  possible  moment,  and 
away  the  singing  boatmen  go  down  the  wild,  winding,  and 
narrow  but  picturesque  stream,  to  their  desired  havens. 
The  section  of  country  supplied  by  the  Kanawha  is  the 
northwest  and  the  extreme  south,  while  Syracuse,  Liver- 
pool, and  Turk's  Island  supply  the  Atlantic  seaboard.  The 
Saltville  reservoir  of  water  seems  to  be  inexhaustible,  and 
it  is  supposed  would  give  active  employment  to  at  least  a 
dozen  new  furnaces.  As  already  stated,  the  yielding  wells 
are  somewhat  over  two  hundred  feet  deep  ;  but  within  a 
stone's  throw  of  these,  other  wells  have  been  sunk  to  the 
depth  of  four,  five,  and  six  hundred  feet,  without  obtaining 
a  particle  of  the  valuable  liquid.  The  business  of  Saltville 
is  carried  on  by  private  enterprise  altogether,  and  the  prin- 
cipal proprietor  and  director  is  a  gentleman  who  comes 
from  that  noble  stock  which  has  given  to  this  country  such 
men  as  Patrick  Henry  and  William  H.  Preston.  I  am  at 
present  the  guest  of  this  gentleman,  and  therefore  refrain 
from  giving  his  name  to  the  public  ;  but  as  his  plantation 
is  decidedly  the  most  beautiful  that  I  have  seen  in  the  whole 
Southern  country,  I  must  be  permitted  to  give  a  particular 
description  for  the  edification  of  my  readers. 

This  heretofore  nameless  nook  of  the  great  world  I 
have  been  permitted  to  designate  as  The  Nameless  Valley, 
and  if  I  succeed  in  merely  enumerating  its  charming  fea- 
tures and  associations,  I  feel  confident  that  my  letter  will 
be  read  with  pleasure.  It  is  the  centre  of  a  domain  com- 
prising eight  thousand  acres  of  land,  which  covers  a  multi- 
tude of  hills  that  are  all  thrown  in  shadow  at  the  sunset 
hour  by  the  Chnch  Mountains.  The  valley  in  question  is 
one  mile  by  three-quarters  of  a  mile  wide,  and  comprises 
exactly   three   hundred    and    thirty-three    acres  of   green 


meadow  land,  unbroken  by  a  single  fence,  but  ornamented 
by  about  a  dozen  isolated  trees,  composed  of  at  least  half 
a  dozen  varieties,  and  the  valley  is  watered  by  a  tiny 
stream  of  the  clearest  water.  It  is  completely  surrounded 
with  cone-like  hills,  which  are  nearly  all  highly  cultivated 
halfway  up  their  sides,  but  crowned  with  a  diadem  of  the 
most  luxuriant  forest  trees.  A  little  back  of  the  hills, 
skirting  the  western  side  of  the  valley,  are  the  picturesquely 
broken  Clinch  Mountains,  whose  every  outline,  and  cliff, 
and  fissure,  and  ravine,  may  be  distinctly  seen  from  the 
opposite  side  of  the  valley,  where  the  spacious  and  taste- 
fully porticoed  mansion  of  the  proprietor  is  located.  Clus- 
tering immediately  around  this  dwelling,  but  not  so  as  to 
interrupt  the  view,  are  a  number  of  very  large  willows, 
poplars,  and  elms,  while  the  inclosed  slope  upon  which  it 
stands  is  covered  with  luxuriant  grass,  here  and  there  enli- 
vened by  a  stack  of  roses  and  other  flowers.  The  numer- 
ous outhouses  of  the  plantation  are  a  little  back  of  the  main 
building,  and  consist  of  neatly  painted  cabins,  occupied 
by  the  negroes  belonging  to  the  estate,  and  numbering 
about  one  hundred  souls  ;  then  come  the  stables,  where  no 
less  than  seventy-five  horses  are  daily  supplied  with  food  ; 
then  we  have  a  pasture  on  the  hill  side,  where  thirty  or 
forty  cows  nightly  congregate  to  be  milked,  and  give  suck 
to  their  calves  ;  and  then  we  have  a  mammoth  spring, 
whose  waters  issue  out  of  the  mountain,  making  only  about 
a  dozen  leaps,  throwing  themselves  upon  the  huge  wheel 
of  an  old  mill,  causing  it  to  sing  a  kind  of  circling  song 
from  earhest  dawn  to  the  twilight  hour.  In  looking  to  the 
westward  from  the  spacious  porticoes  of  the  mansion,  the 
eye  falls  upon  only  two  objects  which  are  at  all  calculated 
to  destroy  the  natural  solitude  of  the  place,  viz.  a  road 


which  passes  directly  by  the  house  at  the  foot  of  the  lawn, 
and  one  small  white  cottage  situated  at  the  base  of  a  hill  on 
the  opposite  side  of  the  valley.  Instead  of  detracting  from 
the  scene,  however,  these  objects  actually  make  it  more  in- 
teresting, when  the  facts  are  remembered  that  in  that  cot- 
tage did  the  proprietor  of  this  great  estate  first  see  the  light, 
and  that  by  its  side  are  deposited  the  remains  of  five  genera- 
tions of  his  ancestors ;  and  as  to  the  road,  the  people  who 
travel  it  all  appear  and  move  along  just  exactly  as  a  poet 
would  desire. 

But  to  give  my  readers  a  more  graphic  idea  of  this  truly 
delightful  valley,  I  will  enumerate  the  living  pictures  which 
attracted  my  attention  from  the  book  I  was  attempting  to 
read  on  a  single  afternoon.  I  was  in  a  commanding  corner 
of  the  porch,  and  had  closed  the  volume  just  as  the  sun 
was  sinking  behind  the  mountain.  The  sky  was  of  a  soft 
silvery  hue,  and  almost  cloudless,  and  the  entire  landscape 
was  bathed  in  an  exquisitely  soft  and  delightful  atmosphere. 
Not  a  breeze  was  stirring  in  the  valley,  ajid  the  cool  sha- 
dows of  the  trees  were  twice  as  long  as  the  trees  themselves. 
The  first  noise  that  broke  the  silence  of  the  scene  was  a 
slow  thumping  and  creaking  sound  away  down  the  road, 
and  on  casting  my  eyes  in  the  right  direction  I  discovered 
a  large  wain,  or  covered  wagon,  drawn  by  seven  horses, 
and  driven  by  a  man  who  amused  himself  as  he  lazily 
moved  along,  by  snapping  his  whip  at  the  harmless  plants 
by  the  road-side.  I  know  not  whence  he  came  or  whither 
he  was  going,  but  twenty  minutes  must  have  flown  before 
he  passed  out  of  my  view.  At  one  time  a  flood  of  discord 
came  to  my  ear  from  one  of  the  huge  poplars  in  the  yard, 
and  I  could  see  that  there  was  a  terrible  dispute  going  on 
between  a  lot  of  resident  and  stranger  blackbirds ;  and, 


after  they  had  ceased  their  noise,  I  could  hear  the  chirping 
of  the  swallows,  as  they  swooped  after  the  insects,  floating 
in  the  sunbeams,  far  away  over  the  green  valley.  And  now 
I  heard  a  laugh  and  the  sound  of  talking  voices,  and  lo  !  a 
party  of  ten  negroes,  who  were  returning  from  the  fields 
where  they  had  been  cutting  hay  or  hoeing  corn.  The 
neighing  and  stamping  of  a  steed  now  attracted  my  atten- 
tion, and  I  saw  a  superb  blood  horse  attempting  to  get 
away  from  a  negro  groom,  who  was  leading  him  along  the 
road.  The  mellow  tinkling  of  a  bell  and  the  lowing  of 
cattle  now  came  trembling  on  the  air,  and  presently,  a  herd 
of  cows  made  their  appearance,  returning  home  from  the 
far-ofT  hills  with  udders  brimming  full,  and  kicking  up  a 
dust  as  they  lounged  along.  Now  the  sun  dropped  behind* 
the  hills,  and  one  solitary  night-hawk  shot  high  up  into  the 
air,  as  if  he  had  gone  to  welcome  the  evening  star,  wiiich 
presently  made  its  appearance  from  its  blue  watchtower; 
and,  finally,  a  dozen  women  came  trooping  from  the  cow- 
yard  into  the  dairy  house,  with  well-filled  milk-pails  on 
their  heads,  and  looking  like  a  troop  of  Egyptic  water 
damsels.  And  then  for  one  long  hour  did  the  spirits  of 
repose  and  twilight  have  complete  possession  of  the 
valley,  and  no  sound  fell  upon  my  ear  but  the  hum  of  insect 

But  I  was  intending  to  mention  the  curiosities  of  the 
Nameless  Valley.  Foremost  among  these  1  would  rank  a 
small  cave,  on  the  south  side,  in  which  are  deposited  a  cu- 
rious collection  of  human  bones.  Many  of  them  are  very 
large,  while  others,  which  were  evidently  full-grown,  are 
exceedingly  small.  Among  the  female  skulls  I  noticed  one 
of  a  female  that  seemed  to  be  perfectly  beautiful,  but  small 
enough  to  have  belonged  to  a  child.     The  most  curious 


specimen,  however,  found  in  this  cave,  is  the  skull  of  a 
man.  It  is  entirely  without  a  forehead,  very  narrow  across' 
the  eyes,  full  and  regularly  rounded  behind,  and  from  the 
lower  part  of  the  ears  are  two  bony  projections,  nearly 
two  inches  in  length,  which  must  have  presented  a  truly 
terrible  appearance  when  covered  with  flesh.  The  animal 
organs  of  this  skull  are  remarkably  full,  and  it  is  also 
greatly  deficient  in  all  the  intellectual  faculties.  Another 
curiosity  in  this  valley  is  a  bed  of  plaster  which  lies  in  the 
immediate  vicinity  of  a  bed  of  slate,  with  a  granite  and 
limestone  strata  only  a  short  distance  off^  the  whole  con- 
stituting a  geological  conglomeration  that  I  never  heard  of 
before.  But  what  is  still  more  remarkable  is  the  fact,  that 
within  this  plaster  bed  was  found  the  remains  of  an  un- 
known animal,  which  must  have  been  a  mammoth  indeed. 
A  grinder  tooth  belonging  to  this  monster  I  have  seen  and 
examined.  It  has  a  blackish  appearance,  measures  about 
ten  inches  in  length,  weighs  four  pounds  and  a  half,  and 
was  found  only  three  feet  from  the  surface.  This  tooth,  as 
well  as  the  skull  already  mentioned,  were  discovered  by  the 
proprietor  of  the  valley,  and,  I  am  glad  to  learn,  are  about 
to  be  deposited  by  him  in  the  National  Museum  at  Wash- 
ington. But  another  attractive  feature  in  the  Nameless 
Valley  consists  of  a  kind  of  Indian  Herculaneum,  where, 
deeply  imbedded  in  sand  and  clay,  are  the  remains  of  a 
town,  whence  have  been  brought  to  light  a  great  variety 
of  earthen  vessels  and  curious  utensils.  Upon  this  spot, 
also,  many  shells  have  been  found,  which  are  said  never  to 
have  been  seen  excepting  on  the  shore  of  the  Pacific.  But 
all  these  things  should  be  described  by  the  antiquarian,  and 
I  only  mention  them  for  the  purpose  of  letting  the  world 
know  that  there  is  literally  no  end  to  the  wonders  of  our 
beautiful  land. 


I  did  think  of  sketching  a  few  of  the  many  charming 
'views  which  present  themselves  from  the  hills  surrounding 
the  Nameless  Valley,  but  I  am  not  exactly  in  the  mood  just 
now,  and  I  will  leave  them  "  in  their  glory  alone."  Con- 
nected with  a  precipice  on  one  of  them,  however,  I  have 
this  incident  to  relate.  For  an  hour  or  more  had  I  been 
watching  the  evolutions  of  a  superb  bald-headed  eagle 
above  the  valley,  when,  to  my  surprise,  he  suddenly  became 
excited,  and  darted  down  with  intense  swiftness  towards 
the  summit  of  the  cliff  alluded  to,  and  disappeared  among 
the  trees.  A  piercing  shriek  followed  this  movement,  and 
I  anticipated  a  combat  between  the  eagle  and  a  pair  of  fish- 
hawks  which  I  knew  had  a  nest  upon  the  cliff.  In  less 
than  five  minutes  after  this  assault,  the  eagle  again  made 
his  appearance,  but  uttered  not  a  sound,  and,  having  flown 
to  the  opposite  side  of  the  valley,  commenced  performing 
a  circle,  in  the  most  graceful  manner  imaginable.  Pre- 
sently the  two  hawks  also  made  their  appearance  high 
above  their  rocky  home,  and  proceeded  to  imitate  the 
movements  of  the  eagle.  At  first  the  two  parties  seemed 
to  be  indifferent  to  each  other,  but  on  observing  them  more 
closely  it  was  evident  that  they  were  gradually  approaching 
each  other,  and  that  their  several  circles  were  rapidly  les- 
sening. On  reaching  an  elevation  of  perhaps  five  thousand 
feet,  they  finally  interfered  with  each  other,  and,  having 
joined  issue,  a  regular  battle  commenced,  and  as  they  as- 
cended, the  screams  of  the  hawks  gradually  became  inau- 
dible, and  in  a  short  time  the  three  royal  birds  were  en- 
tirely lost  to  view  in  the  blue  zenith. 

Before  closing  this  letter,  I  wish  to  inform  my  readers 
of  a  natural  curiosity  lying  between  the  Clinch  and  Cum- 


berland  Mountains,  and  distant  from  this  place  only  about 
a  day's  journey.  I  allude  to  what  is  called  the  Natural 
Tunnel.  It  is  in  Scott  county,  and  consists  of  a  subter- 
ranean channel  through  a  ragged  limestone  hill,  the  entire 
bed  of  which  is  watered  by  a  running  stream  about  twenty 
feet  wide.  The  cavern  is  four  hundred  and  fifty  feet  long, 
from  sixty  to  eighty  feet  in  height,  about  seventy  in  width, 
and  of  a  serpentine  form.  On  either  side  of  the  hill 
through  which  this  tunnel  passes  are  perpendicular  cliffs, 
some  of  which  are  three  hundred  feet  high  .and  exceed- 
ingly picturesque.  The  gloomy  aspect  of  this  tunnel, 
even  at  mid-day,  is  very  imposing ;  for  when  standing 
near  the  centre  neither  of  its  outlets  can  be  seen,  and 
it  requires  hardly  an  effort  of  the  fancy  for  a  man  to 
deem  himself  for  ever  entombed  within  the  bowels  of  the 


Harper's  Ferry,  June,  1848. 
Since  the  date  of  my  last  letter,  I  have  been  travelling 
through  a  very  beautiful  but  thickly-settled  portion  of  the 
Alleghany  country,  w^hose  natural  curiosities  are  as  familiar 
to  the  world  as  a  thrice-told  tale.  For  this  reason,  there- 
fore, I  shall  be  exceedingly  brief  in  describing  what  I  have 
seen  in  the  Valley  of  Virginia.  That  portion  of  the  "  An- 
cient Dominion"  known  by  the  above  name  is  about  two 
hundred  miles  long,  ranging  in  width  from  thirty  to  forty 
miles.  It  is  bounded  on  the  north  by  the  Potomac,  on  the 
east  by  the  Blue  Ridge,  on  the  west  by  a  spur  of  the  Alle- 
ghanies  called  the  North  Mountains,  and  on  the  south  by 
the  New  River,  or  Kanawha,  as  it  should  be  called.  Its 
principal  streams  are  the  Shenandoah,  the  James  River, 
and  the  Cacapon,  which  are  in  every  way  worthy  of  their 
parent  country.  In  ascending  to  the  north,  I  was  tempted 
to  perform  a  pilgrimage  down  the  Kanawha,  but  my  map 
told  me  that  I  could  not  see  the  whole  of  its  valley  without 
travelling  at  least  two  hundred  miles,  and  I  therefore  con- 
cluded that  its  charming  scenery,  its  famous  salt-works,  and 
the  still  more  celebrated  White  Sulphur  Springs,  should  re- 
main undescribed  by  my  pen.  In  fact,  to  visit  all  the  inte- 
resting objects  among  the  Alleghany  Mountains  would  oc- 
cupy a  number  of  summers,  and  therefore,  in  making  a  single 


tour,  I  have  found  it  important  to  discriminate  as  I  passed 
along.  But  it  is  time  that  I^hould  turn  my  attention  to  the 
prominent  attractions  of  the  great  Virginia  Valley.  They 
are  as  follows,  and  I  shall  speak  of  them  in  the  order  in 
which  I  visited  them,  viz.  :  the  Peaks  of  Otter,  the  Natural 
Bridge,  Wyer's  Cave,  Cyclopean  Towers,  the  Shenandoah, 
and  Harper's  Ferry. 

The  Peaks  of  Otter  are  situated  upon  the  line  which 
separates  the  counties  of  Bedford  and  Bottetourt,  and  are 
the  two  highest  mountains  on  the  Blue  Ridge  range,  and 
therefore  the  highest  in  Virginia.  They  derive  their  name 
from  the  fact  that,  at  a  very  early  period  in  the  history  of 
our  country,  the  otter  was  found  in  great  abundance  in  the 
smaller  streams  at  their  base.  In  appearance  they  resemble 
a  pair  of  regularly  formed  haystacks,  and  reach  an  eleva- 
tion of  about  five  thousand  feet  above  the  level  of  the  ocean. 
Owing  to  the  circumstance  that  the  country  on  one  side  is 
nearly  level,  and  that  the  surrounding  mountains  are  com- 
paratively low,  their  appearance  is  exceedingly  imposing. 
The  summits  of  these  watchtowers  are  destitute  of  vegeta- 
tion, but  crowned  with  immense  rocks,  which  have  been 
scattered  about  in  the  most  incomprehensible  confusion. 
And  hereby  hangs  a  story.  About  one  year  ago,  a  number 
of  persons  ascended  the  highest  peak  in  question,  and  having 
discovered  an  immense  rock,  which  appeared  to  be  in  a 
tottleish  position,  they  took  into  their  heads  to  give  it  a 
start  down  the  mountain  side,  and  see  what  would  be  the 
result.  They  accomplished  their  purpose  and  something 
more,  for  it  so  happened  that  the  rock  travelled  much  further 
than  they  expected,  and  having  fallen  into  a  very  large 
spring  at  the  foot  of  the  mountain,  caused  it  to  disappear 
from  the  face  of  the  earth.     The  owner  of  the  spring  felt 


himself  injured  by  this  circumstance,  and  went  to  law  about 
it,  and  the  offending  parties,  as>I  have  been  informed,  were 
compelled  to  pay  a  heavy  bill  of  damages.  That  the  sun- 
rise and  sunset  prospects  from  the  Peaks  of  Otter  are  su- 
perb may  readily  be  imagined.  Those  which  present  them- 
selves on  the  north,  west,  and  south,  seem  to  comprise  the 
entire  Appalachian  chain  of  mountains,  but  the  oceanward 
panorama  is  unique  and  particularly  impressive.  In  this 
direction  the  whole  eastern  portion  of  Virginia  resembles  a 
boundless  plain,  where  even  the  most  extensive  plantations 
appear  no  larger  than  the  squares  upon  a  chessboard ;  and 
now  that  I  have  employed  that  figure,  it  strikes  me  as  par- 
ticularly appropriate  ;  for  where  is  there  a  man  on  the  face 
of  the  earth  who  is  not  playing  a  game  for  the  attainment 
of  happiness  ?  From  their  position,  the  Peaks  of  Otter  look 
down  upon  all  the  fogs  and  vapors  born  of  the  sea  breezes, 
and,  by  those  who  have  frequently  beheld  their  fantastic 
evolutions,  I  am  told  that  they  surpass  even  the  wildest 
flights  of  poetry.  Few  mountains  in  this  country  have  been 
visited  by  so  many  distinguished  men  as  the  Peaks  of  Otter ; 
and  it  is  said  that  it  was  while  standing  on  their  loftiest  pin- 
nacle that  John  Randolph  first  had  a  realizing  sense  of  the 
existence  and  the  power  of  God.  To  some  minds  a  moun- 
tain peak  may  be  a  thousand-fold  more  eloquent  than  the 
voice  of  man  ;  and  when  1  think  of  the  highly  moral  condi- 
tion of  the  people  in  Central  Virginia,  I  am  constrained  to 
award  a  mite  of  praise  even  to  the  Peaks  of  Otter  for  their 
happy  influences. 

It  was  a  thousand  years  ago,  and  a  mighty  caravan  of 
mammoths  were  travelling  across  the  American  continent. 
Midway  between  two  ranges  of  mountains  they  came  to  a 
great  ravine,  over  which  they  could  not  find  a  passage,  and 


they  were  in  despair.  The  Great  Spirit  took  pity  upon  the 
animals,  and  having  brought  a  deep  sleep  upon  them,  threw 
a  mass  of  solid  rock  completely  across  the  ravine,  and  so, 
according  to  an  almost  forgotten  Indian  legend,  came  into 
existence  the  Natural  Bridge  of  Virginia.  The  chasm  over 
which  this  magnificent  limestone  arch  has  been  formed 
varies  from  sixty  to  ninety  feet  in  width,  the  surrounding 
precipices  are  nearly  two  hundred  and  fifty  feet  high  and 
perpendicular,  and  the  lower  line  of  the  narrow  arch  itself 
is  two  hundred  feet  above  the  stream  which  passes  through 
the  gorge.  The  bridge  and  its  clift-like  abutments  are  all 
crowned  with  a  luxuriant  diadem  of  trees,  which  lends  them 
an  indescribable  charm,  and  directly  on  the  north  side  of 
the  former  stands  an  exceedingly  picturesque  gallery  or 
parapet  of  solid  rock,  which  seems  to  have  been  formed  by 
Nature  for  the  especial  purpose  of  affording  the  most  impos- 
ing prospect  into  the  dell.  From  every  elevated  point  of 
view  the  eye  falls  into  an  abyss,  which  one  might  easily 
fancy  to  be  the  birthplace  of  all  the  shadows  in  the  world, 
the  gray  and  green  gloom  is  so  deep,  so  purely  beautiful, 
and  so  refreshing,  even  at  the  hour  of  noon ;  but  from  ev- 
ery point  of  view  at  the  bottom  of  the  dell,  the  stupendous 
arch,  as  some  writer  has  finely  said,  "  seems  to  offer  a  pas- 
sage to  the  skies,"  and  the  massive  masonry  of  Nature 
stands  boldly  out  against  the  blue  heavens,  thereby  produc- 
ing a  most  unique  and  poetical  contrast.  But  the  location 
of  this  bridge  is  not  less  beautiful  than  its  structure.  It  is 
completely  surrounded  with  hills,  which  seem  to  cluster 
around  the  rare  spectacle,  as  if  to  protect  it  from  sacrilege  ; 
and  from  the  hills  in  question  the  eye  is  every  where  de- 
lighted with  mountain  landscapes  of  uncommon  loveliness. 
Wyer's  Cave  is  in  Augusta  county,  and  the  entrance 


to  it  is  from  the  side  of  a  limestone  hill,  which  commands 
a  very  charming  prospect  of  the  highly  cultivated  Valley  of 
the  Shenandoah.  It  was  originally  discovered  by  one  Ber- 
nard Wyer  in  the  year  1804,  whose  fortune  it  was  to  cap- 
ture a  bear  within  a  few  paces  of  its  entrance.  Its  entire 
length  is  not  far  from  one  thousand  yards,  so  that  its  size 
is  not  to  be  wondered  at ;  but  when  you  come  to  speak  of 
its  beauty,  the  variety,  number,  and  imposing  appearance 
of  its  apartments,  the  novelty  of  its  concretions,  its  fantas- 
tic projections,  its  comparative  freedom  from  dampness,  and 
the  whiteness  of  its  walls,  I  suppose  it  must  be  considered 
as  unsurpassed  by  any  thing  of  the  kind  in  the  country,  ex- 
cepting the  Cave  of  Kentucky.  But  the  pleasure  of  roam- 
ing about  this  darksome  emblem  of  perdition  is  greatly  en- 
hanced by  the  huge  pine  torches  w^hich  you  and  your  guide 
have  to  carry  over  your  heads,  and  then  if  you  can  possi- 
bly bribe  your  friend  not  to  utter  a  single  one  of  the  abom- 
inably classical  names  with  which  all  the  nooks  and  corners 
of  the  cave  have  been  christened,  your  gratification  will 
indeed  be  real,  and  your  impressions  strange,  unearthly,  and 
long-to-be-remembered  in  your  dreams.  To  enjoy  a  visit 
to  this  cave,  as  it  ought  to  be  enjoyed,  a  man  ought  to 
have  an  entire  summer  day  at  his  disposal ;  ought  to  be 
alone,  should  have  a  torch  that  should  need  no  trimming, 
and  under  his  arm  a  well-printed  copy  of  Dante.  Thus 
prepared,  his  enjoyment  would  be  truly  exquisite. 

The  Cyclopean  Towers  are  also  in  Augusta  county,  and 
were  so  called  on  account  of  their  resemblance  to  the  Cy- 
clopean walls  of  the  ancients.  They  are  formed  of  lime- 
stone, and  as  they  stand  at  the  outlet  of  a  valley,  through 
which  it  is  probable  a  mighty  river  once  flowed,  they  were 
evidently  formed  by  the  water  while  forcing  its  way  around 


the  point  of  the  neighboring  hill.  There  are  five  or  six 
of  them,  and  they  vary  from  forty  to  ninety  feet  from  base 
to  summit,  and  are  covered  with  trees.  When  viewed  at 
the  twilight  hour  they  appear  like  the  mouldering  ruins  of 
a  once  magnificent  castle,  and  the  wildness  of  the  sur- 
rounding scenery  is  not  at  all  calculated  to  dissipate  this 

With  regard  to  the  Valley  of  the  Shenandoah,  I  can 
only  say  that  a  more  beautiful  section  of  country  I  have 
never  seen.  The  soil  is  exceedingly  rich  and  highly  culti- 
vated ;  its  yeomanry  are  descended  from  the  German  popu- 
lation of  the  older  times  ;  and  throughout  all  its  borders,  I 
am  certain  that  peace  and  plenty  abound.  As  to  the  river 
itself,  I  can  only  say  that  it  is  worthy  of  its  vague  but  po- 
etical and  melodious  Indian  name,  the  interpretation  of 
which  is  said  to  be  Daughter  of  the  Stars. 

And  now  a  single  word  in  regard  to  Harper's  Ferry. 
When  I  close  my  eyes  and  bring  the  scenery  of  this  portion 
of  the  Potomac  before  my  mind,  I  am  disposed  to  agree,  in 
every  particular,  with  all  those  writers  who  have  sung  the 
praises  of  this  remarkable  gorge ;  but  when  I  look  upon  it 
as  it  now  appears,  despoiled  by  the  hand  of  civilization  of 
almost  every  thing  which  gives  a  charm  to  the  wilderness, 
I  am  troubled  with  an  emotion  allied  to  regret,  and  I  again 
instinctively  close  my  eyes,  that  I  may  look  into  the  past, 
and  once  more  hear  the  whoop  of  the  Indian  hunter  follow- 
m^  the  fleet  deer. 


[The  following  highly  interesting  and  valuable  communications,  are 
reprinted  in  this  place  by  permission  of  the  several  writers,  and  for  the 
purpose  of  concluding  my  little  volume  with  an  appropriate  climax.  The 
first  was  addressed  to  the  Editors  of  the  National  InteUigencer,  and  pub- 
lished in  that  journal  subsequently  to  the  appearance  of  my  "  Letters  from 
the  Alleghany  Mountains."  The  second  was  addressed  to  J.  S.  Skinner, 
Esq.,  but  also  published  in  the  Intelligencer  ;  and  the  third,  introducing  a 
letter  from  Professor  C.  U.  Shepard,  was  originally  addressed  to  the 
Editor  of  the  Highland  Messenger,  (Ashville,  N.  C.)  in  which  paper  it 
made  its  first  appearance  :  and  the  fourth  communication,  by  Professor  E. 
Mitchell,  addressed  to  the  Hon.  Mr.  Clingman,  was  published  in  the  New- 
York  Albion.] 

C.  L. 

To  the  Editors  of  the  National  Intelligencer. 

Ashville,  North  Carolina,  October,  1848. 
Gentlemen  :  As  you  have  recently  been  publishing  a  series  of  letters 
in  relation  to  that  portion  of  the  Alleghany  range  which  is  situated  in 
North  Carolina,  you  may,  perhaps,  find  matter  of  interest  in  the  subject  of 
this  communication.  My  purpose  in  making  it  is  not  only  to  present  to 
the  consideration  of  those  learned  or  curious  in  geology  facts  singular  and 
interesting  in  themselves,  but  also,  by  means  of  your  widely  disseminated 
paper,  to  stimulate  an  inquiry  as  to  whether  similar  phenomena  have  been 
observed  in  any  other  parts  of  the  Alleghany  range. 


A  number  of  persons  had  stated  to  me  that  at  different  periods,  within 
the  recollection  of  persons  now  living,  a  portion  of  a  certain  mountain  in 
Haywood  county  had  been  violently  agitated  and  broken  to  pieces.  The 
first  of  these  shocks  remembered  by  any  person  whom  I  have  seen,  occur- 
red just  prior  to  the  last  war  with  England,  in  the  year  1811  or  1812. 
Since  then  some  half  a  dozen  or  more  have  been  noticed.  The  latest  oc- 
curred something  more  than  three  years  ago,  on  a  clear  summer  morning. 
These  shocks  have  usually  occurred,  or  at  least  been  more  frequently  ob- 
served, in  calm  weather.  They  have  generally  been  heard  distinctly  by 
persons  in  the  town  of  Waynesville,  some  twenty  miles  off.  The  sound 
is  described  as  resembling  the  rumbling  of  distant  thunder,  but  no  shaking 
of  the  earth  is  felt  at  that  distance.  In  the  immediate  vicinity  of  the 
mountain,  and  for  four  or  five  miles  around,  this  sound  is  accompanied  by 
a  slight  trembling  of  the  earth,  which  continues  as  long  as  the  sound  lasts 
— that  is,  for  one  or  two  minutes.  After  each  of  these  shocks  the  moun- 
tain was  found  to  be  freshly  rent  and  broken  in  various  places. 

Having  an  opportunity  afforded  me  a  few  days  since,  I  paid  a  visit  to 
the  locality,  and  devoted  a  few  hours  to  a  hurried  examination.  It  is  situ- 
ated in  the  northeastern  section  of  Haywood  county,  near  the  head  of 
Fine's  creek.  The  bed  of  the  little  creek  at  the  mountain  is  probably  ele- 
vated some  twenty-six  or  seven  hundred  feet  above  the  level  of  the  ocean. 
The  valley  of  the  French  Broad,  at  the  Warm  Springs,  some  fifteen  miles 
distant,  is  twelve  hundred  feet  lower.  They  are  separated,  however,  by  a 
mountain  ridge  of  more  than  four  thousand  feet  elevation  above  the  sea, 
and  there  are  high  mountains  in  all  directions  around  the  locality  in  ques- 
tion. The  immediate  object  of  interest  is  the  western  termination  of  a 
mountain  ridge  nearly  half  a  mile  to  the  east  of  the  house  of  Mr.  Matthew 
Rogers.  The  top  of  this  ridge,  at  the  place  where  it  has  been  recently 
convulsed,  is  some  three  or  four  hundred  feet  above  the  creek,  at  its  west- 
ern extremity,  but  it  rises  rapidly  for  some  distance  as  it  goes  off  to  the 
eastward  towards  the  higher  mountain  range.  The  northern  side  of  this 
ridge  I  had  not  time  to  examine,  but  the  marks  of  violence  are  observable 
at  the  top  of  the  ridge,  and  extend  in  a  direction  nearly  due  south,  down 
the  side  of  the  mountain  four  or  five  hundred  yards,  to  a  little  branch ; 
thence  across  it,  over  a  flat  or  gentle  slope,  and  up  the  side  of  the  next 
ridge  as  far  as  I  went,  being  for  three  or  four  hundred  yards.  The  tract 
of  ground  examined  by  me  was  perhaps  half  a  mile  in  length  from  north  to 
south.    The  breadth  of  the  surface  subjected  to   violence  was  nowhere 

ADDENDA.  175 

more  than  two  hundred  yards,  and  generally  rather  less  than  one  hun- 
dred. Along  this  space  the  ground  has  been  rent  in  various  places.  The 
fissures  or  cracks  most  frequently  run  in  a  northern  and  southern  direc- 
tion, and  towards  the  tops  of  the  mountains,  but  they  are  often  at  right  an- 
gles to  these,  and  in  fact  some  may  be  found  in  all  directions.  While 
some  of  them  are  so  narrow  as  to  be  barely  visible,  others  are  three  or  four 
feet  in  width.  The  annual  falling  of  the  leaves  and  the  washing  of  the 
rains  has  filled  them  so  that  at  no  place  are  they  more  than  five  or  six  feet 
in  depth.  Along  this  tract  all  the  large  trees  have  been  thrown  down,  and 
are  lying  in  various  directions,  some  of  them  six  feet  in  diameter.  One 
large  poplar,  which  stood  directly  over  one  of  the  fissures,  was  cleft  open, 
and  one  half  of  the  trunk,  to  the  height  of  more  than  twenty  feet,  is  still 
standing.  Though  the  fissure,  which  passed  directly  under  its  centre,  is 
not  more  than  an  inch  in  width,  it  may  be  observed  for  nearly  a  hundred 
yards.  All  the  roots  of  trees  which  crossed  the  lines  of  fracture  are  broken. 
The  rocks  are  also  cloven  by  these  lines.  The  top  of  the  ridge,  which 
seems  originally  to  have  been  an  entire  mass  of  granite,,  is  broken  in  places. 
Not  only  have  those  masses  of  rock,  which  are  chiefly  under  ground,  been 
cleft  open,  but  fragments  lying  on  the  surface  have  been  shattered.  All 
those  persons  who  have  visited  it  immediately  after  a  convulsion,  concur 
in  saying  that  every  fallen  tree  and  rock  has  been  moved.  The  smallest 
fragments  have  been  thrown  from  their  beds  as  though  they  had  been 
lifted  up.  In  confirmation  of  this  statement  I  observed  that  a  large  block 
of  granite,  of  an  oblong  form,  which,  from  its  size,  must  have  weighed  not 
less  than  two  thousand  tons,  had  been  broken  into  three  pieces  of 
nearly  equal  size.  This  mass  was  lying  loosely  on  the  top  of  the  ground, 
in  a  place  nearly  level,  and  there  were  no  signs  of  its  having  rolled  or  slid- 
den.  The  fragments  were  separated  only  a  few  inches,  rendering  it  almost 
certain  that  it  had  been  broken  by  a  sudden  shock  or  jar,  which  did  not 
continue  long  enough  to  throw  the  pieces  far  apart. 

Some  parts  of  the  surface  of  the  earth  have  sunk  down  irregularly  a 
few  feet,  other  portions  have  been  raised.  There  are  a  number  of  little 
elevations  or  hillocks,  some  of  a  few  feet  only  in  extent,  and  others  twen- 
ty and  thirty  yards  over.  The  largest  rise  at  the  centre  to  the  height  of 
eight  or  ten  feet,  and  slope  gradually  down  ;  some  of  these  have  been  sur- 
rounded on  all  sides  by  a  fissure,  which  is  not  yet  entirely  filled  up.  In 
some  instances  the  trees  on  their  sides,  none  of  them  large,  are  bent  con- 
siderably from  the  perpendicular,  showing  that  they  had  attained  some  size 
before  the  change  of  level  took  place  on  the  surface  where  they  grow. 


The  sides  of  the  mountain  generally  are  covered  by  a  good  vegetable 
mould,  not  particularly  rocky,  and  sustaining  trees  of  large  size.  But 
along  the  belt  of  convulsion  the  rocks  are  much  more  abundant,  and  there 
are  only  young  trees  growing,  the  elasticity  of  which  enabled  them  to 
stand  during  the  shocks. 

With  reference  to  the  mineral  structure  of  the  locality,  it  may  be  re- 
marked that  that  entire  section  seems  to  constitute  a  hypogene  formation. 
It  cohsists  of  granites,  gneiss,  sometimes  porphyritic,  hornblende  rock, 
micaceous  schists,  clay  slate,  and  various  other  metamorphic  strata.  The 
nearest  aqueous  rocks  that  I  know  of  are  the  conglomerate  sandstone  and 
sedimentary  limestone,  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Warm  Springs,  fifteen  miles 
distant  in  a  direct  line.  If  any  volcanic  rock  has  been  found  in  hundreds 
of  miles  I  am  not  aware  of  it.  The  mountain  itself  bears  the  most  indub- 
itable marks  of  plutonic  origin.  It  consists  mainly  of  a  grayish  white 
granite,  in  which  the  felspar  greatly  predominates,  but  it  is  sometimes  ren- 
dered dark  by  an  excess  of  mica  in  minute  black  scales.  This  latter  min- 
eral I  saw  also  there  in  small  rather  irregular  crystals.  Some  portions  of 
the  rock  contained,  however,  its  three  ingredients,  in  nearly  equal  propor- 
tions ;  the  quartz,  in  color,  frequently  approaching  ash  gray.  In  several 
places  I  observed  that  the  granite  was  cut  vertically  by  veins  of  gray  trans- 
lucent quartz,  of  from  one  to  six  inches  in  thickness.  There  were  also 
lying  in  places  on  the  ground  lumps  of  common  opaque  white  quartz,  inter- 
sected by  narrow  veins,  not  exceeding  half  an  inch  in  thickness,  of  specular 
iron,  of  the  highest  degree  of  brilliancy  and  hardness  that  that  mineral  is  cap- 
able of  possessing.  It  may  be  remarked  that  there  are,  in  different  directions 
within  two  miles  of  the  locality,  two  considerable  deposits  of  magnetic 
iron  ore.  The  only  rock  which  I  observed  there  possessing  any  appear- 
ance of  stratification  seems  to  consist  of  mica,  hornblende  and  a  little  fel- 
spar, in  a  state  of  intimate  mixture.  Having  but  a  few  hours  to  remain 
there,  I  do  not  pretend  that  there  are  not  many  other  minerals  at  the  local- 
ity ;  but  I  have  no  doubt  but  that  the  predominating  character  of  the  form- 
ation is  such  as  I  have  endeavored  to  describe  it,  and  I  have  been  thus 
minute,  in  order  that  others  may  be  able  to  judge  more  accurately  in  rela- 
tion to  the  cause  of  the  disturbances. 

Before  visiting  the  locality  I  supposed  that  the  phenomena  nught  be 
produced  by  the  giving  way  of  some  part  of  the  base  of  the  mountain,  so 
as  to  produce  a  sinking  or  sliding  of  the  parts  ;  but  a  moment's  examina- 
tion was  decisive  on  this  point.     It  not  unfrequently  happens  that  aqueous 

ADDENDA.  177 

rocks  rest  on  beds  of  clay,  gravel,  &c.,  which  may  be  removed  from  un- 
derneath them  by  the  action  of  running-  water  or  other  causes.  Cavities 
are  thns  produced,  and  it  sometimes  hrsypens  that  considerable  bodies  of 
secondary  limestone  and  other  sedimentary  strata  sink  down  with  a  violent 
shock.  This,  however,  is  found  to  be  tri:e  only  of  such  strata  as  are  de- 
posited from  water.  But  at  the  locality  under  consideration  the  rocks  are 
exclusively  of  igneous  origin,  and,  I  may  add,  two  of  the  class  termed  hy- 
pogene  or  "  nether  formed.'''  For  though  felspar  and  hornblende  have  been 
found  in  the  lower  parts  of  some  of  the  lavas,  where  the  mass  had  been 
subjected  to  great  pressure  and  cooled  slowly,  yet  quartz  and  mica  have 
never  been  found  as  constituents  of  any  volcanic  rock,  not  even  in  the  ba- 
saltic dikes  and  injected  traps,  where  there  must  have  been  a  pressure 
equal  to  several  hundred  atmospheres.  It  is  universally  conceded  by  ge- 
ologists that  those  rocks  of  which  these  minerals  constitute  a  principal 
part,  have  been  produced  at  great  depths  in  the  earth,  where  they  were 
subjected  to  enormous  pressure  during  their  slow  cooling  and  crystalliza- 
tion. Prior,  therefore,  to  the  denudation  which  has  exposed  these  masses 
of  granite  to  our  view,  they  must  have  been  overlaid  and  pressed  down 
while  in  a  fluid  state  by  superincumbent  strata  of  great  thickness  and  vast 
weight.  It  is  not  probable,  therefore,  that  any  cavities  could  exist,  nor, 
even  if  it  were  possible  that  such  could  be  the  case,  is  it  at  all  likely  that  a 
granite  arch  which  once  upheld  such  an  immense  weight  would  in  our 
day  give  way  under  the  simple  pressure  of  the  atmosphere ;  or,  even  if  we 
were  to  adopt  the  improbable  supposition  that  the  mass  of  granite  compos- 
ing this  mountain  had  been  formed  at  a  great  depth  below  the  present  sur- 
face of  the  earth,  and  forced  up  bodily  by  plutonic  action,  there  is  as  little 
reason  to  believe  that  any  cavities  could  exist.  In  fact,  they  are  never 
found  under  granites.  On  looking  at  the  surface  of  the  ground  at  this 
place  there  is  no  appearance  to  indicate  any  general  sinking  of  the  mass. 
At  the  top  of  the  ridge,  where  the  fractures  are  observable  across  it,  there 
is  no  variation  in  the  slope  of  the  surface  or  depression  of  the  broken  parts. 
Immediately  below  it,  where  the  mountain  has  great  steepness,  equal  at 
least  to  an  inclination  of  forty-five  degrees,  where  the  line  of  fracture  is 
parallel  to  the  direction  of  the  ridge,  the  surface  is  sunk  suddenly  ten  or 
fifteen  feet.  This  state  of  things,  however,  would  inevitably  be  produced 
at  such  an  inc!inati<^n  by  the  force  of  gravity  alone,  causing  the  parts  sep- 
arated by  the  shock  to  sink  somewhat  as  they  descend  the  mountain  side. 
Lower  down,  where  the  steepness  is  not  so  great,  the  elevations  much  ex- 


ceed  the  depressions.  The  same  is  true  of  the  appearances  on  the  south 
side  of  the  branch,  where  the  surface  is  almost  level  for  several  hundred 
yards  ;  and  1  think  that  any  one  surveying  the  whole  of  the  disturbed 
ground  will  be  brought  to  the  conclusion  that  there  has  been  a  general  up- 
heaval rather  than  a  depression,  and  that  the  irregularities  now  observable 
are  due  to  a  force  acting  from  below,  which  has,  during  the  shocks,  une- 
qually raised  different  parts  of  the  surface.  One  of  the  earlier  geologists, 
while  this  science  was  in  its  infancy,  would  probably  have  ascribed  these 
phenomena  to  the  presence  underneath  the  surface  of  a  bed  of  pyrites,  bi- 
tuminous shale,  or  some  other  substances  capable  of  spontaneous  combus- 
tion, which  had  taken  fire  from  being  penetrated  by  a  stream  of  water  or 
some  other  accidental  cause.  If  such  a  combustion  were  to  take  place  at 
a  considerable  depth  below  the  surface,  and  should  to  a  great  extent  heat 
the  strata  above,  they  would  thereby  be  expanded  and  thickened  so  as  to 
be  forced  upward.  Such  an  expansion,  though  it  would  be  less  in  granite 
than  in  some  other  strata,  as  shown  by  your  fellow-townsman.  Col.  Totten, 
would  nevertheless,  if  the  heated  mass  were  thick  and  the  elevation  of 
temperature  considerable,  be  sufficient  to  raise  the  surface  as  much  as  it 
appears  to  have  been  elevated  ;  such  expansion,  however,  being  necessarily 
from  its  nature  very  gradual,  would  not  account  for  the  various  violent 
shocks  nor  for  the  irregular  action  at  the  surface.  On  the  other  hand,  if 
the  burning  mass  were  near  the  surface,  so  as  to  cause  explosion  by 
means  of  gases  generated  from  time  to  time,  it  is  scarcely  conceivable  that 
such  gases,  while  escaping  through  fissures  of  the  rock  above,  should  fail 
to  be  observed,  inasmuch  as  a  great  volume  would  be  necess^ary  to  supply 
the  requisite  amount  of  force,  nor  is  it  at  all  probable  that  such  a  state  of 
things  would  not  be  accompanied  by  a  sensible  change  of  temperature  at 
the  surface.  The  difficulty  in  the  way  of  such  a  supposition  is  greatly  in- 
creased when  we  consider  the  form  of  the  long  narrow  belt  acted  on,  and 
from  the  recurrence  of  the  sudden  violent  shocks  after  long  intervals  of 
quiet.  Such  a  hypothesis  in  fact  I  do  not  regard  as  entitled  to  more  re- 
spect than  another  one  which  was  suggested  to  me  at  the  place.  As  it 
has  no  other  merit  than  that  of  originoUty,  I  should  not  have  thought  it 
worth  repeating  but  for  the  statement  of  fact  made  in  support  of  it.  While 
I  was  observing  the  locality,  my  attention  was  directed  to  an  elderly  man 
who  was  gliding  with  a  stealthy  step  through  the  forest,  carrying  on  his 
left  shoulder  a  rifle,  and  in  his  right  hand  a  small  hoe,  such  as  the  diggers 
of  ginseng  use.     His  glances,  alternating  between  the  distant  ridges  and 

ADDENDA.  179 

the  plants  about  his  feet,  showed  that  while  looking  for  deer  he  was  not 
unmindful  of  the  wants  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  Celestial  Empire.  On 
my  questioning  him  in  relation  to  the  appearances,  he  said  that  he  had  ob- 
served them  often  after  the  different  shocks ;  that  the  appearances  were 
changed  each  time  at  the  surface ;  that  1  ought  to  see  it  just  after  a  shock, 
before  the  rain  and  leaves  had  filled  the  cracks,  adding  that  it  did  "  not 
show  at  all  now."  He  expressed  a  decided  opinion  that  the  convulsions 
were  produced  by  silver  under  the  surface.  On  my  remarking  that  though 
I  knew  that  that  metal,  in  the  hands  of  men,  was  an  effective  agent  in 
cleaving  rocks  and  excavating  the  earth,  yet  I  had  not  supposed  it  could 
exert  such  an  influence  when  deeply  buried  under  ground,  he  stated  in 
support  of  his  opinion,  that  one  of  his  neighbors  had,  on  the  north  side  of 
the  mountain,  found  a  spring  hot  enough  to  boil  an  egg.  He  also  added 
that  some  three  years  since  he  had  seen  on  the  mountain,  two  miles  to  the 
north  of  this  one,  but  in  the  direction  seemingly  of  the  line  of  force,  a 
blazing  fire  for  several  hours,  rising  up  sometimes  as  high  as  the  tops 
of  the  trees,  and  going  out  suddenly  for  a  moment  at  a  time  at  frequent 
intervals.  He  declared  that  at  the  distance  of  a  mile  from  where  he 
was,  the  brightness  was  sufficient  to  enable  him  to  see  small  objects. 
Several  other  persons  in  the  vicinity  I  found  subsequently  professed  to 
have  seen  the  same  light  from  different  points  of  view,  and  described  it 
in  a  similar  manner.  As  no  one  of  them  seems  to  have  thought  enough 
of  the  matter  to  induce  him  to  attempt  to  approach  the  place,  though 
some  persons  represented  that  they  had  subsequently  found  a  great  quan- 
tity of  "  cinder"  at  the  point,  the  statement  of  fact  is  not  perhaps  entitled 
to  more  weight  than  the  hypothesis  it  was  intended  to  support. 

It  is  probable,  however,  that  some  difRculty  will  attend  any  explanation 
that  can  be  offered  in  relation  to  the  phenomena  at  this  place.  We  know 
that  the  elevation  of  the  surface  of  the  earth  is  at  many  places  undergoing 
a  change,  so  gradual  as  not  to  be  observed  at  any  one  time.  Some  of  the 
northwestern  parts  of  Europe,  for  example,  are  experiencing  a  slow  up- 
Jimial  equal  to  five  or  six  feet  in  a  century,  while  on  the  coast  of  Green- 
land the  subsidence,  or  depression,  is  such  that  even  the  ignorant  inhabit- 
ants have  learned  that  it  is  not  prudent  for  them  to  build  their  huts  near 
the  edge  of  the  water.  Similar  changes  are  observed  in  various  other 
places,  but  they  obviously  bear  no  analogy  to  the  facts  under  considera- 
tion. Again,  it  is  well  known  that  earthquakes  from  time  to  time  agitate 
violently  portions  of  the  earth's  surface,  of  greater  or  less  extent ;  that 


while  one  single  shock  hus  permanently  raised  two  or  three  feet  the  coast 
of  Chili  for  several  hundred  miles,  others  have  elevated  or  depressed  com- 
paratively small  spaces.  It  usually  happens,  however,  that  when  the 
shock  is  so  forcible  at  one  point  as  to  break  the  solid  strata  of  the  globe, 
the  surrounding  parts  are  violently  agitated  for  a  considerable  distance. 
In  the  present  instance,  however,  the  shock  for  half  a  mile  at  least  in 
length,  and  for  the  breadth  of  one  hundred  yards,  is  such  as  to  cleave  a 
mass  of  granite  of  seemingly  indefinite  extent,  and  so  quick  and  sudden 
as  to  displace  the  smallest  fragments  on  the  surface ;  and  yet  at  the  house 
of  Mr.  Rogers,  less  that  half  a  mile  distant,  a  slight  trembling  only  is  felt, 
not  sufficient  to  excite  alarm,  while  at  the  distance  of  a  few  miles,  though 
the  sound  is  heard,  no  agitation  of  the  ground  is  felt.  Should  we  adopt 
the  view  of  those  who  maintain  that  all  the  central  parts  of  the  earth  are 
in  a  state  of  fusion,  and  that  violent  movements  of  parts  of  the  melted 
mass  give  rise  to  the  shocks  which  are  felt  at  the  surface,  the  explanation 
of  this  and  similar  phenomena  is  still  not  free  from  difficulty.  Upon  the 
supposition  that  the  solid  crust  of  the  globe  has  no  greater  thickness  than 
that  assumed  by  Humboldt,  some  twenty-odd  miles,  it  would  scarcely 
seem  that  such  a  crust,  composed  of  rocky  strata,  would  have  the  requisite 
degree  of  elasticity  to  propagate  a  violent  shock  to  so  small  a  surface, 
without  a  greater  agitation  of  the  surrounding  parts  than  is  sometimes  ob- 
served. Volcanic  eruptions,  however,  take  place  through  every  variety  of 
strata ;  but  these  volcanoes  are  rarely  if  ever  isolated ;  on  the  contrary, 
not  only  the  volcanoes  now  active,  but  such  as  have  been  in  a  state  of  rest 
from  the  earliest  historic  era,  are  distributed  along  certain  great  lines  of 
force,  or  belts,  the  limits  of  which  seem  to  have  been  pretty  well  defined 
by  geologists.  But  I  am  not  aware  of  there  being  any  evidence  afforded 
of  volcanic  action,  either  in  recent  or  remote  geological  ages,  within  hun- 
dreds of  miles  of  this  locality.  Even  if  such  exist  beneath  the  sea,  it 
must  be  at  least  two  hundred  miles  distant.  If  then  we  attribute  these 
convulsions  to  the  same  causes  which  have  elsewhere  generated  earth- 
quakes and  volcanoes,  is  it  probable  that  this  is  the  only  point  in  the  Alle- 
ghany range  thus  acted  on  ?  The  fact  that  nothing  else  of  the  kind  has  been, 
as  far  as  I  know,  published  to  the  world,  is  by  no  means  conclusive,  since 
the  disturbances  here  have  not  only  been  unnoticed  by  writers,  but  are  even 
unknown  to  nine-tenths  of  those  persons  living  within  fifty  miles  of  the 
spot.  Is  it  then  improbable  that  different  points  of  the  great  mountain 
range  are  sensibly  acted  on  from  year  to  year  ?     It  is  true  that  this  may 

ADDENDA.  181 

be  the  only  locality  affected.  It  might  be  supposed  that  there  is  at  this 
place  a  mass  of  rock,  separated  wholly  or  partially  from  the  adjoining 
strata,  reaching  to  a  great  depth,  and  resting  on  a  fluid  basin,  the  agitation 
of  which  occasionally  would  give  a  shock  to  the  mass.  Though  such  be 
not  at  all  probable,  yet  it  is  conceivable  that  such  a  mass  might  possess 
the  requisite  shape  ;  and  if  at  the  top,  instead  of  being  a  single  piece,  it 
should  have  a  number  of  irregular  fragments  resting  on  it  below  the  sur- 
face, then  it  might  be  capable  of  producing  inequalities  observable  after 
each  successive  convulsion.  From  the  form,  however,  of  ihe  belt  acted 
on,  as  well  as  from  other  considerations,  such  a  hypothesis  is  only  possi- 
ble, not  probable.  It  would  perhaps  more  readily  be  conceded  that  there 
was  in  the  solid  strata  below  an  oblong  opening,  or  wide  fissure,  connected 
with  the  fluid  basin  below,  and  filled  either  with  melted  lava,  or  more  proba- 
bly with  elastic  gas,  condensed  under  vast  pressure,  so  that  the  occasional 
agitations  below  would  be  propagated  to  the  surface  at  this  spot.  Or  if 
we  suppose  that  steam,  at  a  high  heat,  or  some  of  the  other  elastic  gaseous 
substances,  should  escape  through  fissures  from  the  depths  below,  but 
have  their  course  obstructed  near  the  surface,  so  as  to  accumulate  from 
time  to  time,  until  their  force  was  sufficient  to  overpower  the  resistance, 
then  a  succession  of  periodic  explosions  might  occur.  Such  a  state  of 
things  would  be  analogous  to  the  manner  in  which  Mr.  Lyell  accounts  for 
the  Geysers,  or  Intermittent  Hot  Springs,  in  Iceland,  except  that  the  inter- 
vals between  the  explosions  in  this  instance  are  much  greater  than  in  the 
other.  It  is  easy  to  conceive  that  the  shocks  of  some  former  earth- 
quakes may  have  produced  the  requisite  condition  in  the  strata  at  that  place. 
Or,  should  we  reject  all  such  suppositions,  it  might  be  M'orth  while  to 
inquire  whether  this  and  similar  phenomena  may  not  be  due  to  electricity  ? 
The  opinion  seems  to  have  become  general  with  men  of  science,  that  there 
are  great  currents  of  electricity  circulating  in  the  shell  of  the  globe, 
mainly  if  not  entirely  in  directions  parallel  to  the  magnetic  equator.  The 
observations  and  experiments  of  Mr.  Fox  have,  in  the  opinion  of  a  geolo- 
gist so  eminent  as  Mr.  Lyell,  established  the  fact  that  there  are  electro- 
magnetic currents  along  metalliferous  veins.  Taking  these  things  to  be 
true,  it  may  well  be  that  the  electricity  in  its  passage  should  be  collected 
and  concentrated  along  certain  great  veins.  During  any  commotion  in  the 
great  ocean  of  electricity,  the  currents  along  such  lines,  or  rather  where 
they  are  interrupted,  might  give  rise  to  sensible  shocks.  The  exceedingly 
quick  vibratory  motion,  often  observed  on  such  occasions,  seems  analogous 


to  some  of  the  observed  effects  of  electricity.  In  the  present  instance  the 
line  of  force  appears  to  coincide  with  the  direction  of  the  magnetic  needle. 
It  is  also  represented  that  the  sound  accompanying  the  convulsions  is 
heard  more  distinctly  at  Waynesville,  twenty  miles  south,  than  it  is  within 
two  or  three  miles  to  the  east  or  west  of  the  locality,  seeming  to  imply 
that  the  force  may  be  exerted  in  a  long  line,  though  it  is  more  intense  at 
a  particular  point.  In  adverting,  however,  to  the  manner  in  which  the 
phenomena  observed  at  this  place  might  possibly  be  accounted  for,  it  is 
not  my  expectation  to  be  able  to  arrive  at  their  cause.  •  One  whose  atten- 
tion is  mainly  directed  to  political  affairs,  and  who  at  most  gets  but  an  oc- 
casional glimpse  of  a  book  of  science,  ought  neither  to  assume,  nor  to  be 
expected  to  accomplish  this.  I  have  adopted  the  above  mode  of  making 
suggestions  as  to  the  causes,  solely  to  enable  me  to  explain  the  facts  ob- 
served in  a  more  intelligible  manner  than  I  could  do  by  a  mere  detail  of  the 
appearances  and  events  as  narrated.  Perhaps  those  whose  minds  are 
chiefly  occupied  with  the  consideration  of  such  subjects  will  find  an  easy 
solution  of  these  phenomena.  Should  this  letter  be  instrumental  in  eli- 
citing information  in  relation  to  similar  disturbances  elsewhere  in  the  Alle- 
ghany range,  then  its  publication  may  answer  some  valuable  purpose. 
Very  respectfully,  yours, 

Messrs.  Gales  &l  Seaton. 

P.  S.  Since  writing  this  letter,  I  have  been  apprized  of  a  similar  con- 
vulsion which  occurred  six  or  seven  years  ago,  at  a  place  some  forty  miles 
distant  from  this  in  a  southwesterly  direction.  My  informant  says  that  at 
his  house  the  ground  was  agitated  for  some  minutes  during  a  rumbling 
sound,  and  that  a  few  miles  off,  the  earth  was  rent  and  broken  for  the  dis- 
tance of  two  miles  in  length  and  nearly  a  half  mile  in  breadth.  Though 
I  have  not  seen  the  locality,  I  have  no  doubt  of  the  truth  of  the  statement, 
nor  of  the  general  resemblance  of  the  phenomena  to  those  I  have  de- 
scribed above. 

T.  L.  C. 

To  J.   S.   Skinner,  Esq. 

House  of  Representatves,  Feb.  3,  1844. 
Dear  Sir  :  Your  favor  of  the  30th  ultimo  was  received  a  day  or  two 
since,  and  I  now  avail  myself  of  the  very  first  opportunity  to  answer  it.     I 

ADDENDA.  183 

do  so  most  cheerfully,  because,  in  the  first  place,  I  am  happy  to  have  it  in 
my  power  to  gratify  in  any  manner  one  who  has  done  so  much  as  yourself 
to  diffuse  correct  information  on  subjects  most  important  to  the  agricul- 
ture of  the  country ;  and,  secondly,  because  I  feel  a  deep  interest  in  the 
subject  to  which  your  inqr.irios  are  directed. 

You  state  that  you  have  directed  some  attention  to  the  sheep  hus- 
bandry of  the  United  States,  in  the  course  of  which  it  has  occurred  to  you 
that  the  people  of  the  mountain  regions  of  North  Carolina,  and  some  of 
the  other  Southern  States,  have  not  availed  themselves  sufficiently  of  their 
natural  advantages  for  the  production  of  sheep.  Being  myself  well  ac- 
quainted with  the  western  section  of  North  Carolina,  I  may  perhaps  be 
able  to  give  you  most  of  the  information  you  desire.  As- you  have  direct- 
ed several  of  your  inquiries  to  the  county  of  Yancey,  (I  presume  from  the 
fact,  well  known  to  you,  that  it  contains  the  highest  mountains  in  any  of 
the  United  States.)  I  will,  in  the  first  place,  turn  my  attention  to  that 
county.  First,  as  to  its  elevation.  Dr.  Mitchell,  of  our  University,  as- 
certained that  the  bed  of  Tow  river,  the  largest  stream  in  the  county,  and 
at  a  ford  near  its  centre,  was  about  twenty-two  hundred  feet  above  the 
level  of  the  ocean.  Burnsville,  the  seat  of  the  court-house,  he  found  to 
be  between  2,800  and  2,900  feet  above  it.  The  general  level  of  the 
county  is,  of  course,  much  above  this  elevation.  In  fact,  a  number  of  the 
mountain  summits  rise  above  tlie  height  of  six  thousand  feet.  Tlie  cli- 
mate is  delightfully  cool  during  the  summer:  there  being  very  few  places 
in  the  county  where  the  thermometer  rises  above  80°  on  the  hottest  day- 
An  intelligent  gentleman  v/ho  passed  a  summer  in  the  northern  part  of 
the  county  (rather  the  more  elevated  portion  of  it)  informed  me  that  the 
thermometer  did  not  rise  on  the  iiottest  days  above  76°. 

You  ask,  in  the  next  place,  if  the  surfiice  of  the  ground  is  so  much  cov- 
ered with  rocks  as  to  render  it  unfit  for  pasture  ?  The  reverse  is  the  fact ; 
no  portion  of  the  county  that  I  have  passed  over  is  too  rocky  for  cultiva- 
tion, and  in  many  sec  lions  of  the  county  one  may  travel  miles  without 
seeing  a  single  stone.  It  is  only  about  the  tops  of  the  highest  mountains 
that  rocky  precipices  are  to  be  found.  A  large  portion  of  the  surface  of 
the  county  is  a  sort  of  elevated  table-land,  undulating,  but  seldom  too  broken 
for  cultivation.  Even  v.s  one  ascends  the  higher  mountains,  he  will  find  oc- 
casionally on  their  sides  flats  of  level  land  containing  several  himdred  acres 
in  a  body.  The  top  of  the  Roan  (the  highest  mountain  in  the  county  ex- 
cept the  Black)  is  covered  by  a  prairie  for  ten  miles,  which  affords  a  rich 


pasture  during  the  greater  part  of  the  year.  The  ascent  to  it  is  so  gradual, 
that  persons  r.d;  to  the  top  on  horseback  from  ahiiost  any  direction.  The 
same  may  be  said  of  many  of  the  other  mountains.  The  soil  of  the  county 
generally  is  uncitmrnonly  fertile,  producing  with  tolerable  cultivation  abun- 
dant crops.  What  seems  extraordinary  to  a  stranger  is  the  fact  that  the  soil 
becomes  richer  as  he  ascends  the  mountains.  The  sides  of  the  Roan,  the 
Black,  tlie  liald,  and  others,  at  an  elevation  of  even  five  or  six  thousand 
feet  above  the  sea,  are  covered  with  a  deep  rich  vegetable  mould,  so  soft, 
that  a  horse  in  dry  weather  often  sinks  to  the  fetlock.  The  fact  that  the 
soil  is  frequently  more  fertile  as  one  ascends,  is,  I  presume,  attributable  to 
the  circumstance  that  the  higher  portions  are  more  commonly  covered  wilh 
clouds,  and  the  vegetable  matter  being  thus  kept  in  a  cool  moist  state 
while  decaying,  is  incorporated  to  a  greater  degree  with  the  surface  of  the 
enrth.  just  as  it  is  usually  found  that  the  north  side  of  a  hill  is  richer  than 
the  portion  most  exposed  to  the  action  of  the  sun's  rays.  The  sides  of  the 
mountains,  the  timber  being  generally  large,  with  little  undergrowth  and 
brushwood,  are  peculiarly  fitfed  for  pasture  grounds,  and  the  vegetation  is 
in  many  places  as  luxuriant  as  it  is  in  the  rich  savanna  of  the  low 

The  soil  of  every  part  of  the  county  is  not  only  favorable  to  the  pro- 
ducti.  n  ot  gr;  in,  but  is  peculiarly  fitted  for  grasses.  Timothy  is  supposed 
to  make  the  largest  yield,  two  tons  of  hay  being  easily  produced  on  an 
acre,  but  herds-grass,  or  red-top,  and  clover,  succeed  equally  well ;  blue- 
gra?-s  has  not  been  much  tried,  but  is  said  to  do  remarkably  w^ell.  A  friend 
showed  me  several  spears,  which  he  informed  me  were  produced  in  the 
northern  part  of  the  county,  and  which  by  measurement  were  found  to  ex- 
ceed seventy  inches  in  length ;  oats,  rye,  potatoes,  turnips,  &c.,  are  pro- 
duced in  the  greatest  abundance. 

With  respect  to  the  prices  of  land,  T  can  assure  you  that  large  bodies 
of  uncleared  rich  land,  most  of  which  might  be  cultivated,  have  been  sold 
at  prices  varying  from  twenty-five  cents  to  fifty  cents  per  acre.  Any 
quantity  of  land  favorable  for  sheep-walks  might  be  procured  in  any  sec- 
tion of  the  county,  at  prices  varying  from  one  to  ten  dollars  per  acre. 

The  few  sheep  that  exist  in  the  county  thrive  remarkably  well,  and  are 
sometimes  permitted  to  run  at  large  during  the  winter  without  being  fed, 
and  without  suffering.  As  the  number  kept  by  any  individuil  is  not  large 
enough  to  justify  the  employment  of  a  shepherd  to  take  care  of  them,  they 
are  notunfrequently  destroyed  by  vicious  dogs,  and  more  rarely  by  wolves, 
which  ha\  e  not  yet  been  entirely  exterminated. 


I  have  been  somewhat  prolix  in  my  observations  on  this  county,  be- 
cause some  of  your  inquiries  were  directed  particularly  to  it,  and  because 
most  of  what  I  have  said  of  Yancey  is  true  of  the  other  counties  west  of 
the  Blue  Ridge.  Haywood  has  about  the  same  elevation  and  climate  of 
Yancey.  The  mountains  are  rather  more  steep,  and  the  valleys  somewhat 
broader ;  the  soil  generally  not  quite  so  deep,  but  very  productive,  espe- 
cially in  grasses.  In  some  sections  of  the  county,  however,  the  soil  is 
equal  to  the  best  1  have  seen. 

Buncombe  and  Henderson  are  rather  less  elevated — Ashville  and  Hen- 
dersonville,  the  county  towns,  being  each  about  2,200  feet  above  the  sea. 
The  climate  is  much  the  same,  but  a  very  little  wa-mer.  The  more  broken 
portions  of  these  counties  resemble  much  the  mountainous  parts  of  Yan- 
cey and  Haywood,  but  they  contain  much  more  level  land.  Indeed  the 
greater  portion  of  Henderson  is  quite  level.  It  contains  much  swamp 
land,  which,  when  cleared,  with  very  little  if  any  drainage,  produces  veiy 
fine  crops  of  herds-grass.  Portions  of  Macon  and  Cherokee  counties  are 
quite  as  favorable,  both  as  to  climate  and  soil,  as  those  above  described.  I 
would  advert  particularly  to  the  valleys  of  the  Nantahalah,  Fairfield,  and 
Hamburg,"  in  Macon,  and  of  Cheoh.  in  Cherokee.  In  either  of  these 
places,  for  a  comparatively  trifling  price,  some  ten  or  fifteen  miles  square 
could  be  procured,  all  of  which  would  be  rich,  and  the  major  part  sufficient- 
ly level  for  cultivation,  and  especially  fitted,  as  their  natural  meadows  in- 
dicate, for  the  production  of  grass. 

In  conclusion,  I  may  say  that,  as  far  as  my  limited  knowlege  of  such 
matters  authorizes  me  to  speak,  I  am  satisfied  that  there  is  no  region  that 
is  more  favorable  to  the  production  of  sheep  than  much  of  the  country  I 
have  described.  It  is  every  where  healthy  and  well  watered.  I  may  add, 
too,  that  there  is  water  power  enough  in  the  different  counties  composing 
my  Congressional  district,  to  move  more  machinery  than  human  labor  can 
ever  place  there — enough,  certainly,  to  move  all  now  existing  in  the 
Union.  It  is  also  a  rich  mineral  region.  The  gold  mines  are  worked  now 
to  a  considerable  extent.  The  best  ores  of  iron  are  found  in  great  abund- 
ance in   many  places ;  copper,  lead,*  and  other  valuable  minerals  exist. 

*  Since  writing  this  letter  I  have  discovered  there  the  diamond,  platina, 
blue  corundum  in  large  masses,  of  brilliant  colors,  and  the  most  splendent 
lustre,  sapphire,  ruby,  emerald,  euclase,  amethyst  ;  also  in  various  localities, 
zircon,  pyropian  garnet,  chrome  ore  ;  and  manganese,  and  barytes  in  large 
veins  ;  likewise  plumbago  of  the  finest  quality. 


That  must  one  day  become  the  great  manufacturing  region  of  the  South. 
I  doubt  if  capital  could  be  used  more  advantageously  in  any  part  of  the 
Union  than  in  that  section. 

For  a  number  of  years  past  the  value  of  the  live  stock  (as  ascertained 
from  books  of  the  Turnpike  Company)  that  is  driven  through  Buncombe 
county  is  from  two  to  three  millions  of  dollars.  Most  of  this  stock  comes 
from  Kentucky  and  Ohio,  and  when  it  has  reached  Ashville  it  has  travelled 
half  its  journey  to  the  more  distant  parts  of  the  Southern  market,  viz. 
Charleston  and  Savannah.  The  citizens  of  my  district,  therefore,  can  get 
their  live  stock  into  the  planting  States  south  of  us  at  one  half  the  expense 
which  those  of  Kentucky  and  Ohio  are  obliged  to  incur.  Not  only  sheep, 
but  hogs,  horses,  mules,  and  horned  cattle  can  be  produced  in  many  por- 
tions of  my  district  as  cheaply  as  in  those  two  States. 

Slavery  is,  as  you  say,  a  great  bugbear,  perhaps,  at  a  distance;  but  I 
doubt  if  any  person  from  the  North,  who  should  reside  a  single  year  in 
that  country,  whatever  might  be  his  opinions  in  relation  to  the  institution 
itself,  would  find  the  slightest  injury  or  inconvenience  result  to  him  indi- 
vidually. It  is  true,  however,  that  the  number  of  slaves  in  those  counties 
is  very  small  in  proportion  to  the  whole  population. 

I  have  thus,  sir,  hastily  endeavored  to  comply  with  your  request,  be- 
cause you  state  that  you  would  hke  to  have  the  information  at  once. 
Should  you  find  my  sketch  of  the  region  a  very  unsatisfactory  and  imper- 
fect one,  I  hope  you  will  do  me  the  favor  to  remember  that  the  desk  of  a 
member  during  a  debate  is  not  the  most  favorable  position  for  writing  an 

With  very  great  respect,  yours, 

J.  S.  Skinner,  Esq. 

To  the  Editor  of  the  Highland  Messenger. 

You  published  a  few  weeks  since  an  extract  from  an  article  in  Silli- 
man's  Journal,  contributed  by  Prof.  Shepard,  in  which  he  described  a  dia- 
mond sent  him  from  this  region  a  few  months  since.  As  that  extract 
excited  some  interest  in  the  minds  of  a  number  of  my  friends  who 
are  engaged  in  the  mining  business,  I  inclose  you  a  letter  from  Prof. 
Shepard,  the  publication  of  which  I  am  sure  would  be  acceptable  to  many 
of  your  readers.     I  may  remark  in  explanation,  that  within  the  last  few 

ADDENDA.  187 

years  I  have  sent  Prof.  Shopard  some  hundreds  of  specimens  of  minerals 
collected  in  this  and  some  of  the  other  western  counties  of  the  State.  In 
some  instances  a  doubt  as  to  the  character  of  a  particular  mineral  induced 
me  to  take  this  course,  but  more  frequently  it  was  done  to  gratify  those  of 
my  acquaintances  who  wished  to  have  their  specimens  examined  by  one 
in  whose  decision  there  would  be  absolute  acquiescence.  I  knew  too,  that 
I  should  by  these  means  be  able  favorably  to  make  known  to  the  public 
the  existence  in  Western  North  Carolina,  of  such  minerals  as  might  be 
valuable  in  a  commercial  point  of  view,  or  interesting  to  the  scientific 
world.  The  letter  which  I  send  you,  was  received  in  reply  to  an  inquiry 
directed  to  Prof.  Shepard,  as  to  what  was  his  opinion  generally  in  relation 
to  the  minerals  of  this  region,  and  what  he  thought  of  the  propriety  of  a 
more  careful  survey  of  it  than  has  hitherto  been  made.  The  answer, 
though  merely  in  reply  to  my  inquiries,  is  of  such  a  character  that  I  feel 
quite  sure  that  its  publication  will  be  alike  creditable  to  the  writer  and  ben- 
eficial to  the  public.  Even  should  it  fail  to  produce  any  such  impression 
on  the  minds  of  our  legislators  as  might  induce  them  to  direct  a  complete 
geological  survey  of  the  State,  its  publicity  may  in  other  respects  prove 

I  have  been  pleased  to  observe  that  the  letter  of  Prof.  Mitchell,  in  re- 
lation to  some  of  the  minerals  of  this  region,  which  appeared  in  your  paper 
a  year  or  two  since,  aroused  the  attention  of  a  number  of  persons  to  that 
subject,  and  has  been  the  means  of  bringing  under  my  observation  several 
interesting  minerals.  By  going  (whenever  leisure  has  been  afforded  me,) 
to  examine  such  localities  as  from  their  singular  appearance  or  any  pecu- 
liarity of  external  character,  had  aroused  the  attention  of  persons  in  the 
neighborhood, — I  have  induced  many  to  manifest  an  interest  in  such  sub- 
jects, so  that  there  is  in  this  region  a  considerable  increase  in  the  number 
of  individuals  who  will  lay  up  and  preserve  for  examination  singular  look- 
ing minerals.  Others  are  deterred  from  so  doing,  lest  they  should  be 
laughed  at  by  their  neighbors  as  unsuccessful  hunters  of  mines.  D(iubtless 
they  deserve  ridicule,  who,  so  ignorant  of  mineralogy  as  not  to  be  able  to 
distinguish  the  most  valuable  metallic  ores  from  the  most  common  and 
worthless  rocks,  nevertheless  spend  their  whole  time  in  travelling  about 
the  country  under  the  guidance  of  mineral  rods  or  dreams,  in  search  of 
mines.  But,  almost  every  one  may  without  serious  loss  of  time  and  with 
trifling  inconvenience  to  himself,  preserve  for  future  examination  speci- 
mens of  the  different  mineral  substances  he  meets  with  in  his  rambles.  He 


ought  to  remember  that  by  so  doing  he  may  have  it  in  his  power  to  add  to 
the  knowledge,  wealth  and  happiness  of  his  countrymen.  Partially  sepa- 
rated as  this  region  of  country  is  by  its  present  physical  condition  from  the 
commercial  world,  it  is  of  the  first  consequence  to  its  inhabitants  that  all 
its  resources  should  be  developed.  Opening  valuable  mines,  besides  di- 
verting labor  now  unprofitably,  because  excessively,  applied  to  agriculture, 
would  attract  capital  from  abroad  and  furnish  a  good  home  market  to  the 

Should  the  proposed  Railroad  from  Columbia  to  Greenville,  S.  C,  be 
completed,  I  am  of  opinion  that  the  manganese  and  chrome  ores  in  this 
and  some  of  the  adjoining  counties  would  be  profitably  exported.  Though 
the  veins  of  sulphate  of  baryta  in  the  northern  part  of  this  county,  contain 
pure  white  varieties  suitable  to  form  an  adulterant  in  the  manufacture  of 
the  white  lead  of  commerce,  yet.  for  want  of  a  navigable  stream,  it  is  not 
probable  that  they  will  ever  be  turned  to  account  in  that  way.  They 
have,  however,  at  some  points,  a  metallic  appearance  at  the  surface,  they 
lie  at  right  angles  to  the  general  direction  of  the  veins  of  the  country,  go 
down  vertically,  and  being  associated  abundantly  with  several  varieties  of 
iron  pyrites,  oxides  of  iron,  fluor  spar  and  quartz,  and  containing  traces  of 
copper  and  lead,  will  doubtless  at  no  very  distant  day,  be  explored  to  a 
greater  or  less  extent.  There  is  not  a  single  county  west  of  the  Blue 
Ridge,  that  does  not  contain  in  abundance  rich  iron  ores  In  some  in- 
stances these  deposites  are  adjacent  to  excellent  water  power  and  lime- 
stone, and  are  surrounded  by  heavily  timbered  cheap  lands.  The  sparry 
carbonate  of  iron,  or  steel  ore,  of  which  a  specimen  some  years  since,  fell 
under  the  observation  (>f  Prof.  Mitchell,  though  he  was  not  able  to  ascer- 
tain the  locality  from  which  it  came,  is  abundant  at  a  place  rather  inacces- 
sible in  the  present  condition  of  the  country.  It  is  not  probable  that  in 
our  day  the  beautiful  statuary  marble  of  Cherokee,  both  white  and  flesh- 
colored,  will  be  turned  to  much  account  for  want  of  the  means  of  getting 
it  into  those  markets  where  it  is  needed.  Besides  the  minerals  referred 
to  in  Prof.  Shepard's  letter,  some  of  the  ores  of  copper  exist  in  the  west- 
ern part  of  this  State.  I  have  the  carbonate,  (green  malachite,)  the 
black  oxide,  arid  some  of  the  sulphurets.  Whether,  however,  these,  as 
well  as  the  ores  of  lead  and  zinc,  (both  the  carbonate  and  sulphuret  exist 
here,)  are  in  sufficient  abundance  to  be  valuable,  cannot  be  ascertained 
without  further  examination  than  has  yet  been  made. 

Many  persons  are  deterred  from  making  any  search,  and  are  discour- 

ADDENDA.  189 

aged  becanse  valuable  ores  are  not  easily  discovered  on  the  surface  of  this 
country.  This  is  not  usually  tt:e  case  any  where.  Gold,  it  is  true,  be- 
cause it  always  exists  in  the  metallic  state,  and  because  it  resists  the  ac- 
tion of  the  elements  better  than  any  other  substance,  remains  unchanged, 
while  the  gangue,  or  mineral  containing  it  crumbles  to  pieces  and  disap- 
pears, and  hence  it  is  easily  found  about  the  surface  by  the  most  careless 
observer.  Such,  however,  is  not  generally  the  case  with  metallic  ores. 
On  the  contrary,  many  of  the  best  ores  would,  if  exposed  to  the  action  of 
the  elements,  in  progress  of  time  be  decomposed,  or  so  changed  from  the 
appearances  which  they  usually  present  when  seen  in  cabinets,  that 
none  but  a  practised  eye  would  detect  them  at  the  surface.  In  the 
counties  west  of  the  Blue  Ridge,  there  has  been  as  yet  no  exploration  to 
any  depth  beneath  the  surfece  of  the  ground,  with  perhaps  the  single  ex- 
ception of  the  old  excavations  in  the  county  of  Cherokee.  According  to 
the  most  commonly  received  Indian  tradition,  they  were  excavated  more 
than  a  century  ago,  by  a  company  of  Spaniards  from  Florida.  They  are 
said  to  have  worked  there  for  two  or  three  summers,  to  have  obtained  a 
white  metal,  and  prospered  greatly  in  their  mining  operations,  until  the 
Cherokees,"  finding  that  if  it  became  generally  known  that  there  were 
valuable  mines  in  their  country,  the  cupidity  of  the  white  men  would  ex- 
pel them  from  it,  determined  in  solemn  council  to  destroy  the  whole  party, 
and  that  in  obedience  to  that  decree  no  one  of  the  adventurous  strangers 
was  allowed  to  return  to  the  country  whence  they  came.  Though  this 
story  accords  very  well  with  the  Indian  laws  which  condemned  to  death 
those  who  disclosed  the  existence  of  mines  to  white  men,  yet  I  do  not  re- 
gard it  as  entitled  to  much  credit.  At  the  only  one  of  these  localities 
which  I  have  examined,  besides  some  other  favorable  indications,  there  is 
on  the  surface  of  the  ground  in  great  abundance  that  red  oxide  of  iron, 
w^hich  from  its  being  found  in  Germany  above  the  most  abundant  deposites 
of  the  ores  of  lead  and  silver,  has  been  called  by  the  Germans  the  Iron 
Hat,  Also  something  resembling  that  iron  ore  rich  in  silver,  which  the 
Spaniards  called  pacos,  is  observable  there.  It  seems  more  probable, 
therefore,  that  some  of  those  companies  of  enterprising  Spaniards,  that  a 
century  or  two  since  were  traversing  the  continent  in  search  of  gold  and 
silver  mines,  struck  by  these  appearances,  sunk  the  shafts  in  question  and 
soon  abandoned  them  as  unproductive.  But  which  of  these  is  the  more 
probable  conjecture,  cannot  perhaps  be  determined,  until  some  one  shall 


be  found  adventurous  enough  to  re-open  those  old  shafts.     I  am,  however, 
keening  your  readers  too  long  from  the  interesting  letter  of  Prof  Shepard. 


New  Haven,  Conn.,  Sept.  15,  1746, 
Hon.  Mr.  Clingman, — Dear  Sir  : — To  your  inquiry  of  what  I  think 
of  the  mineral  resources  of  Western  North  Carolina,  it  gives  me  pleasure  to 
say  that  no  part  of  the  United  States  has  impressed  me  more  favorably 
than  tlie  region  referred  to.  It  is  proper,  however,  to  state,  that  my  ac- 
quaintance with  it  is  not  the  result  of  personal  observation,  but  has  been 
formed  from  a  correspondence  of  several  years  standing  with  yourself  and 
Dr.  Hardy,  and  from  the  inspection  of  numerous  illustrative  specimens 
supplied  to  me  at  different  times  by  my  colleague,  Dr.  S.  A.  Dickson,  of 
Charleston,  S.  C,  and  by  the  students  of  a  Medical  College  of  South  Ca- 
rolina, who  have  long  been  in  the  habit  of  bringing  with  them  to  the  college 
samples  of  the  minerals  of  their  respective  neighborhoods.  I  may  add  to 
these  sources  of  information,  the  mention  of  not  unfrequent  applications 
made  to  me  by  persons  from  North  Carolina,  who  have  had  their  attention 
called  to  mines  and  minerals,  with  a  view  to  their  profitable  exploration. 
Nor  shall  I  ever  forget  the  pleasure  I  experienced  a  year  or  two  since,  on 
being  v/aited  upon  in  my  laboratory  by  a  farmer  from  Lincolnton,  who 
had  under  his  arm  a  small  trunk  of  ore  in  lumps,  which  he  observed  that 
he  had  selected  on  account  of  their  size,  from  the  gold  washings  of  his 
farm  during  the  space  of  a  single  year.  The  trunk  contained  not  far  from 
twelve  hundred  dollars  in  value,  and  one  of  the  specimens  weighed  two 
hundred  and  seventy-five  dollars. 

I  have  recognized  in  the  geological  formation  of  the  southw^estern 
counties  of  North  Carolina,  the  same  character  w^hich  distinguishes  the 
gold  and  diamond  region  of  the  Minas  Geraes  of  Brazil,  and  tlie  gold  and 
platina  district  (where  diamonds  also  exist)  of  the  Urals,  in  Siberia.  It  is 
this  circumstance,  beyond  even  the  actual  discoveries  made  with  us,  that 
satisfies  my  mind  of  the  richness  of  the  country  in  the  precious  metals  and 
the  diamond.  The  beautiful  crystal  of  this  gem  which  you  sent  me  last 
spring,  from  a  gold  washing  in  Rutherford,  however,  establishes  the 
perfect  identity  of  our  region  with  the  far-famed  auriferous  and  diamond 
countries  of  the  South  and  the  East. 

ADDENDA.  191 

Neither  can  there  remain  any  douht  concerning  the  existence  of  valu- 
able deposites  of  manganese,  lead,  crome  and  iron,  in  your  immediate  vici- 
nity, to  which  I  think  we  are  authorized  to  add  zinc,  barytes  and  marble. 
I  have  also  seen  indications  of  several  of  the  precious  stones,  besides  the 
diamond,  making  it  on  the  whole,  a  country  of  the  highest  miiieralogical 

Enough  has  already  been  developed,  as  it  appears  to  me,  in  the  mine- 
rals of  the  region  under  consideration,  to  arouse  the  attention  of  prudent 
legislators  to  this  fertile  source  of  prosperity  in  a  State.  If  a  competent 
surveyor  of  the  work  were  obtained,  under  whose  direction  a  zealous  and 
well-instructed  corps  of  young  men,  (now  easily  to  be  obtained  from  those 
States  in  which  such  enterprises  are  just  drawing  to  a  close,)  could  take 
the  field,  I  have  no  doubt  that  numerous  important  discoveries  would  im- 
mediately be  made,  and  that  the  entire  outlay  required  for  carrying  for- 
ward the  work,  would  in  a  very  short  time  be  many  times  over  returned  to 
the  people  from  mineral  wealth,  which  now  lies  unobserved  in  their  very 
midst.  But  the  highest  advantages  of  such  a  survey  would  no  doubt 
prove  with  you  as  it  has  done  elsewhere,  to  be  the  spirit  of  inquiry  which  it 
u'ould  imparl  to  the  population  generally,  producing  among  their  own  ranks 
an  efficient  band  of  native  mineralogists  and  geologists,  whose  services,  in 
their  own  behalf,  in  that  of  their  neighbors  and  the  State  at  large,  would, 
in  a  few  years,  greatly  outweigh  all  that  had  been  achieved  by  the  original 
explorers.  It  is  thus  in  the  States  of  New-England,  New-York,  Ohio,  Penn- 
sylvania. New  Jersey  and  Maryland,  that  there  are  scattered  every  where 
through  those  communities,  numbers  of  citizens,  who  having  first  had  their 
attention  called  to  the  subject  by  the  scientific  men  appointed  by  the  Le- 
gislature, have  now  become  fully  competent  to  settle  most  of  the  questions 
which  arise  relating  to  the  values  of  the  unknown  mineral  substances, 
which  from  time  to  time  are  submitted  by  their  less  informed  neighbors  for 
determination.  A  very  observable  impulse  has  in  this  way  been  given  to 
the  development  of  underground  wealth ;  and  many  valuable  mines  are  in 
the  course  of  active  exploration,  which  but  for  these  surveys  and  the  at- 
tendant consequences  of  them,  would  now  remain  not  only  unproductive 
but  unknown.  Nor  is  the  mere  mineral  yield  of  these  mines  to  be  consi- 
dered in  determining  the  advantages  that  accrue  to  a  community  from  such 
enterprises.  The  indirect  results  to  the  neighborhood  in  which  the  mines 
are  situated,  are  often  very  great ;  such  for  example  as  those  flowing  from 
the  increased  demand  for  farming  produce,  from  the  free  circulation  of 


capital,  the  improvement  of  roads,  .ind  the  general  stimulus  which  is  al- 
ways imparted  by  successful  enterprise  to  the  industry  of  a  country.  I 
may  be  permitted  to  add  in  conclusion  also,  that  an  important  service  is 
always  rendered  true  science,  in  restraining  the  uninformed  from  unprofita- 
ble adventures. 

I  have  a  wish  to  see  the  public  survey  of  North  Carolina  undertaken, 
not  only  on  account  of  its  economical  bearings,  but  from  the  conviction 
with  which  I  am  impressed,  that  it  will  equally  promote  the  progress  of 
science,  and  elevate  the  character  of  our  country  at  large. 

I  have  the  honor  to  remain  very  truly  and  obediently  yours. 


To  Hon.    T.  L.  Clingman,  hut  originally  puhlished  in  the 
New-York  Albion. 

My  Dear  Sir, — I  promised  my  friends  in  the  Western  counties  that 
they  should  hear  from  me  through  the  Highland  Messenger,  and  to  the 
editor  of  that  paper  that  he  should  receive  one  or  two  communications. 
As  the  person  who  undertakes  to  inform  the  public  on  subjects  not  strictly 
in  the  line  of  his  profession  is  likely  to  fall  into  some  errors,  and  to  say 
some  things  which  will  not  be  thought  very  wise,  I  have  wished  that  what 
I  have  to  offer,  might,  before  going  to  press,  pass  under  the  eye  of  one, 
who,  like  yourself,  has  long  taken  a  deep  interest  in  every  thing  con- 
nected with  the  mountain  region,  is  well  acquainted  with  the  larger  part 
of  it,  and  in  whose  friendly  feeling  I  could  fully  rely.  The  statements 
and  remarks  that  are  to  follow,  will  fall  naturally  under  the  four  heads  of 
Elevation  of  the  Country  and  Height  <f  the  Mountains,  Soil  and  Agricul- 
ture, Minerals  and  Scenery. 

The  elevation  of  the  highest  mountain  peaks  was  ascertained  by  me 
within  certain  limits  of  accuracy  about  eight  years  ago.  So  little  was 
known  about  them  before  that  time,  that  the  Grandfather  was  commonly 
regarded  as  the  highest  of  all.  With  the  view  of  coming  somewhere  near 
the  truth,  one  barometer  was  stationed  at  Morganton,  and  another  carried 
to  the  tops  of  the  mountains.  Their  elevation  above  that  village  was  thus 
ascertained;  but  in  order  to  get  their  height  above  the  level  of  the  sea,  that 
of  Morganton  must  be  known,  and  for  this  there  were  no  data  in  which 
implicit  confidence  could  be  placed.  I  finally  fixed  upon  968  feet  as  a 
moderate  estimate,  and  in  my  desire  to  avoid  an  extravagant  and  incredi- 

ADDENDA.  193 

ble  result,  it  now  appoars  that  the  elevation  assigned  to  Morganton,  and 
therefore  to  all  the  heights  measured,  was  somewhat  too  small. 

In  the  first  report  of  the  President  and  Directors  of  the  Louisville,  Cin- 
cinnati, and  Charleston  Railroad,  it  is  stated  as  one  of  the  results  of  the 
surveys  and  measurements  made  with  reference  to  that  work,  that  "  the 
elevation  of  the  summit  of  our  mountain  passing  above  a  line  drawn  along 
what  may  be  regarded  as  their  base  about  twenty  miles  below,  does  not 
exceed  1054  feet.  This  will  leave  1114  feet  for  the  height  of  that  line 
above  the  sea,  or  146  feet  more  than  I  had  allowed  for  Morganton. 

But  the  surveys  referred  to  were  carried  along  the  French  Broad  river, 
in  the  immediate  vicinity  of  Ashville,  and  therefore  afford  a  base,  or  start- 
ing point,  from  which  all  the  heights  in  that  region  could  be  conveniently 
ascertained.  Dr.  Dickson  having  undertaken  to  observe  the  barometer  at 
Ashville,  and  knowing  that  in  his  hands  it  would  afford  results  in  which 
confidence  could  be  placed,  I  determined  to  try  the  Black  once  more,  in 
which  mountain  I  was  well  satisfied  that  the  highest  points  are  to  be  found, 
as  I  was,  also,  that  I  had  never  yet  been  upon  the  highest. 

The  Black  Mountain,  as  you  well  know,  is  a  long  curved  ridge,  15  or 
20  miles  in  length,  its  base  having  somewhat  the  form  of  a  common  fish- 
hook, of  which  the  extremity  of  the  shank  is  near  Thomas  Young's,  in 
Yancey.  It  sweeps  round  by  the  heads  of  the  South  fork  of  the  Swan- 
nanoe^  Rim's  Creek  and  Ivy,  and  ends  at  the  Big  Butt,  or  Yates's  Knob — 
Caney  river  drains  by  a  number  of  forks  the  hollow  of  the  curve.  The 
summit  of  the  ridge  is  depressed  at  some  points,  and  rises  at  others  into 
peaks  or  knobs,  2,  3  or  400  feet  higher  than  the  rest,  and  it  is  a  matter  of 
considerable  difficulty  to  determine  before  ascending  which  is  the  highest, 
as  we  cannot  tell  how  much  the  apparent  elevation  is  affected  by  the  dis- 
tance of  the  different  points.  The  general  elevation  of  the  ridge  may  be 
stated  at  600  feet.  The  following  are  the  heights  measured,  which  are 
liiiely  to  have  most  interest  for  the  readers  of  the  Messenger. 


Ashville, 2200 

French  Broad  at  Ashville, 1977 

Lower  Ford  of  Pigeon, 2475 

Waynesville, 2722 

Head  of  Scott's  Creek, 3240 

Tuckaseege  Ford, 1927 

Cullywhee  Gap,         .         .         .         .         .         .         .         3397 


Blue  Ridgo  head  of  Tnckaseege, 3795 

Col.  Zachary's  Cashier's  Valley,         ....  3324 

Chimney  Top,       . 4433 

Chimney  Top  above  Zachary's,  .         .         .         .  1109 

Burnsville, 2763 

Top  of  Black, 6672 

Morganton, 1031 

Table  Rock,      .         .         .         .         .         .         .         .  3584 

Grandfather,  .         .     • 5719 

Roan, 6187 

It  appears  that  the  valley  of  the  French  Broad  is  a  trough,  or  depres- 
sion, extending  quite  across  the  ^reat  back-bone  of  the  United  States,  hav- 
ing the  parallel,  but  considerably  higher  valleys  of  the  Nolachucky  and 
Pigeon  on  its  two  sides.  Ivy  Ridge  is  the  boundary  of  this  valley  on  the 
north-east,  the  ford  of  Ivy  creek,  near  Solomon  Carters,  having  very  nearly 
the  height  of  Ashville.  The  difference  of  temperature  and  climate  cor- 
responds to  the  indications  of  the  barometer,  grain  and  wild  fruits  ripening 
sooner  about  Ashville,  than  in  the  neighborhood  of  either  Burnsville  or 
Waynesville.  At  the  ford  of  the  Tuckaseege,  on  the  road  to  Franklin,  we 
are  at  the  bottom  of  another  deep  and  warm  valley,  but  this  does  not,  like 
that  of  the  French  Broad,  extend  across  the  whole  range  of  the  Allegha- 

These  measurements  are  not  altogether  without  value,  to  the  people  of 
Haywood  and  Macon,  showing  as  they  do,  what  is  the  amount  of  obstacle 
that  has  to  be  overcome  in  carrying  a  road  from  Tennessee  into  South 
Carolina,  along  the  Tuckaseege.  Such  a  road  should  be  made,  or  rather 
the  existing  one  should  be  greatly  improved,  and  the  route  altered  in  some 
places.  There  is  likely  to  be  a  good  deal  of  travel  along  it,  but  the  gap  in 
the  Blue  Ridge,  where  it  is  to  pass,  is  about  1500  feet  higher  than  that  at 
the  head  of  the  French  Broad. 

There  are  but  two  routes  by  which  the  highest  peaks  of  the  Black 
Mountains  can  be  reached,  without  an  amount  of  labor  which  few  people 
are  willing  to  undergo.  One  is  by  the  head  of  Swanannoe.  This  brings 
us  to  a  point  a  little  higher  than  the  top  of  the  White  Mountains  in  New 
Hampshire.  The  other  is  from  the  south  fork  of  Tow.  It  is  represented 
as  quite  practicable,  and  leads  to  the  highest  summit. 

Agriculliire. — The  mountain  counties,  Ashe,  Yancey,  Buncombe,  Hen- 

ADDENDA.  195 

derson,  Haywood  and  IMacon,  do  not  appear  to  have  adopted  fully  those 
modes  of  culture  which  are  the  hest  suited  to  their  soil  and  climate,  and 
which  are  likely  ultimately  to  prevail.  For  this  two  reasons  may  be  as- 

1 .  The  great  amount  of  travel,  through  the  counties  of  Ashe,  Hender- 
son and  Buncombe,  (but  especially  the  two  last,)  between  the  Atlantic 
states  and  the  West,  has  created  a  demand  for  the  different  kinds  of  grain, 
and  given  a  direction  to  the  industry  of  the  population  of  those  counties, 
wliich  but  for  the  circumstance  mentioned,  would  be  neither  natural  nor 
profitable.  The  roads  have  consumed  all  the  corn  that  could  be  raised. 
The  practice  of  the  farmers  living  near  the  roads,  which  will  answer  very 
well  for  them,  (especially  if  somewhat  more  attention  be  paid  to  the  culti- 
vation of  the  grasses),  may  be  expected  to  have  an  under  influence  in  the 
remote  parf  s  of  those  counties. 

2.  The  families  by  whom  these  counties  were  settled,  were  from  below 
the  ridge,  and  carried  with  them  into  the  mountain  region,  the  kind  of  hus- 
bandry to  which  they  have  been  accustomed  in  the  warmer  and  drier  parts 
from  which  they  came.  It  is  only  gradually  that  men  change  the  habits 
and  practices  of  their  earlier  days.  This  influence  of  custom  is  exhibited 
on  the  northernmost  range  of  counties  in  North  Carolina,  along  the  Virginia 
line,  where  the  culture  of  tobacco  prevails  much  more  extensively  than  a 
little  farther  south,  where  the  soil  is  equally  well  adapted  to  the  grov.'th  of 
that  noxious  weed. 

The  latitude  and  elevation — and  of  course  the  temperature  of  the 
mountain  counties  as  far  as  it  depends  upon  these  two,  are  very  nearly  the 
same  with  those  of  ancient  Arcadia — the  country  of  herdsmen  and  shep- 
herds. Their  soil  is  difl'erent,  having  been  formed  by  the  decomposition 
of  primitive  rocks — granite,  gneiss  and  mica  slate — whilst  limestone 
abounds  in  Arcadia,  as  well  as  other  parts  of  Greece.  But  it  is  to  the 
raising  of  cattle  and  sheep  and  the  making  of  butter  and  cheese  for  the 
counties  below  the  ridge,  that  it  may  be  expected  there  will  be  a  tendency 
in  the  industry  of  the  mountain  region  for  many  years.  The  quantity  of 
rain  falling  there,  is  greater  than  in  the  eastern  parts  of  the  state,  and 
luxuriant  meadows  of  the  most  valuable  grasses,  but  especially  of  timothy, 
may  be  easily  formed.  This  is  for  winter  food.  But  the  summer  pas- 
tures, too,  are  susceptible  of  great  improvement. 

Whilst  the  Indians  held  possession  of  the  country  it  was  burnt  over 
every  year.     The  ilre  destroyed  the  greater  number  of  the  young  trees, 


that  were  springing  np,  and  the  large  ones  remained  thinly  scattered,  like 
the  apple  trees  in  an  orchard  with  large  open  spaces  between.  In  these, 
the  different  kinds  of  native  vines  and  other  wild  plants, — pea  vine,  &c., 
contended  for  the  mastery,  and  each  prevailed  and  excluded  the  other  ac- 
cording to  the  vigor  of  its  growth.  Macon  county  still  exhibits  in  some 
parts  the  appearance  which  the  whole  back  country  of  North  Carolina 
may  be  supposed  to  have  borne  when  the  first  settlements  of  the  whites 
were  made.  But  after  the  Indians  had  been  removed  and  large  quantities 
of  stock  were  introduced,  the  cattle  and  horses  lent  their  aid  in  this  con- 
test of  the  different  vegetable  species  and  in  favor  of  the  worst  kinds. 
They  ate  out  and  destroyed  such  as  they  found  palatable  and  suitable  for 
the  nourishment  of  animals,  whilst  such  as  are  worthless  were  permitted 
to  grow  and  occupy  the  ground.  In  the  mean  time  the  annual  firing  of 
woods  that  had  been  practised  by  the  Indians  having  ceased,  bushes  and 
small  trees  have  overspread  and  shaded  a  large  space  that  was  formerly 
covered  with  herbage.  For  these  two  reasons,  therefore,  because  th  ^  best 
kinds  of  vegetables  have  been  in  a  great  measure  eaten  out,  and  destroyed, 
and  because  of  the  thickening  of  the  forests,  the  range  (even  if  the  popu- 
lation were  still  the  same)  would  be  greatly  inferior  to  what  it  was  fifty 
years  ago. 

It  is  necessary  here  as  in  other  cases  that  the  industry  and  ingenuity 
of  man  should  come  in  to  direct,  and  to  some  extent,  control  the  operations 
of  nature.  The  best  grasses — best  for  pasturage,  must  be  introduced  and 
made  to  take  the  place  of  such  as  are  worthless.  The  milk,  butter,  and 
cheese  would  be  improved  in  quality  as  well  as  increased  in  quantity.  As 
the  wild  onion,  where  eaten  by  cows,  gives  milk  a  flavor  that  is  intolerable 
to  some  persons,  so  it  may  be  expected  that  bitter  and  unpalatable  weeds 
of  every  kind  will  give  it  a  wild  and  savage  taste  ;  that  it  will  be  inferior 
in  purity  and  richness  to  such  as  is  yielded  where  the  sweetest  and  best 
grasses  are  the  only  food.  It  appeared  to  me  as  I  rode  down  from  the 
Flat  Rock  to  Ashville  that  there  were  very  extensive  tracts  in  Henderson 
and  in  the  southern  part  of  Buncombe  now  almost  waste  and  worthless, 
which  would,  in  the  course  of  a  few  years,  be  converted  into  artificial 
pastures  ;  not  the  most  fertile  in  the  world — but  such  as  would  amply  re- 
pay an  outlay  of  capital  upon  them  ;  that  the  marshes  and  low  grounds 
would  be  drained,  and  rank  timothy  take  the  place  of  sedge  and  other  coarse 
grasses  that  afford  no  nourishment.  In  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  the 
Flat  Rock  I  saw  that  the  good  work  had  been  begun  and  made  a  consider- 
able progress. 

ADDENDA.  197 

The  sides  of  the  mountains  are  too  steep  to  be  cleared  and  converted 
into  pastures  that  will  have  any  permanent  value.  The  soil  that  is  ex- 
posed would  be  washed  away.  But  there  are  tracts,  some  of  no  inconsid- 
erable extent,  and  especially  near  the  crest  of  the  ridge  and  along  the 
head  springs  of  the  western  waters,  where  the  surface  is  comparatively  livid, 
the  soil  sufficiently  moist  and  fertile,  and  where  capital  might  be  advanta- 
geously invested  for  the  purpose  of  converting  them  into  meadows  and 
pastures.  The  tops  of  the  mountains  also,  where  the  ridge  is  broad  or  a 
single  summit  has  a  rounded  surface  instead  of  a  sharp  peak,  will  afford  a 
few  grazing  farms.  I  do  not  altogether  despair  of  living  to  see  the  time 
when  the  highest  summit  of  the  Black  shall  be  inclosed  and  covered  with 
a  fine  coat  of  the  richest  grasses,  and  when  the  cheese  of  Yancey  shall 
rival  in  the  market  of  the  lower  counties  that  which  is  imported  from  other 

For  accomplishing  this  a  good  deal  of  labor  will  be  required.  But  the 
person  to  whom  it  has  happened  to  visit  Burnsville  soon  after  it  was  fixed 
upon  as  the  seat  of  Justice  for  Yancey  county,  and  during  the  present  year, 
will  have  good  hopes  of  very  rough  and  unsightly  places.  A  more  doleful 
spot  than  it  was  in  the  year  1834,  cannot  well  be  imagined  ;  and  though 
there  is  ample  room  for  improvement  yet,  it  is  not  difficult  to  see  that  the 
time  is  near  when  there  will  be  a  range  of  meadows  passing  by  and  near 
it,  alike  productive  and  beautiful. 

If  an  inhabitant  of  the  mountains  shall  be  desirous  of  calling  in  the 
experience  of  other  parts  of  our  widely  extended  country  for  the  purpose 
of  directing  his  own  labors,  there  is  no  section  of  the  United  States  which 
he  wo'\ld  visit  with  more  advantage  than  the  genuine  Yankee  land — the 
New  England  States.  The  soil  is  to  a  great  extent  the  same  with  his  own, 
having  been  produced  by  the  decomposition  of  primitive  rocks  ;  elevation 
compensating  for  difference  of  latitude,  there  is  a  considerable  similarity 
of  climate.  And  if  after  seeing  what  the  labor  of  two  centuries  has  ac- 
complished there,  he  shall  pass  through  the  mountain  region  of  North 
Carolina,  whilst  he  will  be  pleased  to  see  how  much  has  been  done  in  his 
own  section,  he  will  fix  upon  many  spots  that  are  now  in  a  great  measure 
neglected,  as  those  which  a  patient  industry  will  in  the  course  of  a  few  years 
render  the  most  productive  and  valuable.  Extensive  tracts  in  Henderson 
county,  the  moist  grounds  inclining  to  swamp  in  the  neighborhood  of 
Waynesville,  the  valley  of  Scott's  creek,  bordering  the  road,  the  head  waters 
of  the  Tuckaseege  and  those  of  the  Savannah  on  the  south  side  of  the 


Blue  Ridge,  are  cited  as  examples  because  they  fell  under  my  immediate 

Closely  connected  with  agriculture  as  affording  access  to  a  market  are 
good  roads,  and  it  was  with  some  surprise  that  I  noticed  certain  indications 
that  the  road  scraper  has  never  been  introduced  into  the  western  part  of 
the  State,  but  that  all  the  difficult  passes  in  the  mountains  had  been  wrought 
out  with  the  plough,  the  hoe,  and  shovel.  The  Warm  Spring  turnpike 
has  inequalities,  elevations  and  depressions,  even  between  the  village  of 
Ashville  and  the  point  where  it  first  comes  into  contact  with  the  river, 
that  would  not  be  permitted  to  continue  for  a  year  if  this  excellent  labor- 
saving  instrument  were  once  to  come  into  use.  For  removing  earth 
through  short  distances,  for  a  hundred  feet  to  a  hundred  yards,  there  is 
nothing  comparable  to  it.  A  single  man  and  horse  will  accomplish  as 
much  as  six  or  eight  men  with  the  ordinary  torJs. 

I  am  respectfully  yours, 


To  Hon.  T.  L.  Cling  man. 

THE    END. 

0'   9  6  6^ 

Oeacidifisd  using  the  Bookkeepei-  process 
Neutralizing  Agent;  Magnesium  Oxide 


1 1 1  Thomson  Park  Drive 
Cranberry  Township,  PA  1606&